IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Has ‘Welfare Dependency’ Increased?


  • P. Gottschalk


This paper uses the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1975 to 1992 to measure changes in the distribution of years of receipt of AFDC. The process generating the total number of years of welfare receipt is then disaggregated into four components: (1) the length of time until first birth, (2) the duration until a welfare spell begins, (3) the duration of a welfare spell, and (4) the duration until the woman re-enters the welfare system. Since much of the recent debate has focused on unwed teen mothers, we give special attention to this group. Finally, we focus on events that accompanied the end of welfare spells. We find no systematic evidence of increased dependency, either for all women or for women who had their first child as unwed teens. The stability of the overall measures of total time on welfare, however, reflects offsetting changes in the underlying processes. For example, the duration until first birth declined but there was no trend in the time between first birth and entry onto welfare. This holds for unwed teens as well as other women. Furthermore, we find that the duration of welfare spells declined for unwed teens but increased for others. Changes in events associated with entry onto welfare and exits from welfare also do not support the view that welfare recipients were less likely to use the labor market to change their welfare status.

Suggested Citation

  • P. Gottschalk, "undated". "Has ‘Welfare Dependency’ Increased?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1147-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1147-97

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1147-97. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.