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Welfare Entries among Children Living With Grandparents


  • Peter Brandon


This study will examine public assistance participation among grandchildren living in grandparent-headed households. Over the last 15 years, there has been a large increase in the number of children living in households headed by grandparents. In the last 8 years, the most disadvantaged grandparent-headed families have grown the fastest: namely, grandparent-headed families with no parents present. Public policies have not kept pace with this change and research on welfare participation among grandchildren living in grandparent-headed families is lagging. This study will help fill these gaps by examining entry into the food stamp and Aid to Families with Dependent Children programs among children living in grandparent-headed families and by proposing policies to meet the special needs of grandchildren and grandparents. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the study will test the hypothesis that income losses or high dependency ratios increase the probability of grandchildren who live in grandparent-headed households receiving food stamps or AFDC. These data are well suited to testing the hypothesis because they provide a rich amount of monthly information on many aspects of children's lives, including where they live, with whom, and what economic resources are available to them. Using a nationally representative sample of children from these data, a discrete hazard model will generate estimates of the effects of economic and demographic variables on a grandchild's probability of receiving public assistance. Information about the economic well-being of grandchildren living in different types of grandparent-headed families will be provided, as well as evidence confirming or disconfirming that welfare receipt is an adaptation among grandparent-headed families to the economic hardships associated with raising grandchildren in the absence of their parents.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Brandon, 2000. "Welfare Entries among Children Living With Grandparents," JCPR Working Papers 170, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:170

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
    2. Robert Moffitt, 1994. "Welfare Effects on Female Headship with Area Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 621-636.
    3. Daniel Aaronson, 1998. "Using Sibling Data to Estimate the Impact of Neighborhoods on Children's Educational Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 915-946.
    4. repec:mes:challe:v:27:y:1984:i:2:p:59-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Robert Moffitt & Robert Reville & Anne Winkler, 1998. "Beyond single mothers: Cohabitation and marriage in the AFDC program," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(3), pages 259-278, August.
    6. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-782, July.
    7. Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1996. "When Do Women Use Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility Versus Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 57-89.
    8. Heckman, James J. & Singer, Burton, 1984. "Econometric duration analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 63-132.
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