Contrary to the dire predictions of the welfare advocacy community, welfare reform has worked:
- The number of poor children living in poverty declined by nearly 3 million.
- The majority of the decrease (2.25 million) was in mother-only families.
The decrease in poverty was NOT solely the result of economic expansion:
- The economic expansion of the 1980s did not produce declines in poverty in mother-only families.
- AFDC produced dramatic increases in mother-only families.
- After the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, welfare rolls were cut in half and the growth in mother-only families declined.
- Poor mother-only families declined by 32% (the only significant period of decline since the upward trend began in the late 1960s).
Two negative trends have kept the declines in single-parent families from being even more dramatic:
- The growth in non-poor mother-only families has kept the total number of mother-only families from declining.
- The increase in father-only families has accelerated, adding significantly to the number of single parent families.