Welfare Reform is Reducing Child Poverty

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Washington, D.C.Data released today assessing the impact of welfare reform programs reveal that they worked exceptionally well. The just-released report “Reducing Child Poverty: Did Welfare Reform Work?” also eliminates economic expansion as the primary reason for decreasing poverty among children. The economic expansion of the 1980s reduced unemployment by more than 4 million persons but this produced no decrease in the number of poor children in mother-only families in poverty. The economic expansion of the 1990s, on the other hand, reduced unemployment by only about 3 million persons, but with reforms in welfare the number of poor children in mother-only families decreased by 2.25 million.

“Contrary to the dire predictions of the welfare advocacy community, welfare reform has worked,” said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, author of the July Data Digest published by the Beverly LaHaye Institute: A Center for Studies in Women’s Issues.

After the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, the total number of poor children living in poverty declined by nearly 3 million. Also, welfare rolls were cut in half and poor mother-only families declined by nearly one-third. “The sincere belief of many liberals that the way to help the poor was by expanding handouts proved to be based on a false understanding of human nature,” said Crouse. “The cycle of dependency on government handouts is beginning to be broken.”

Obscured by the good news of the dramatic decrease in the number of poor mother-only families, which yielded a significant decrease in child poverty, there are two negative trends that have prevented the total number of single parent families from decreasing. First, there has been an increase in the number of non-poor, upscale mother-only families with children and second, there has been a sharp increase in the number of father-only families with children; the combination of the growth in these two has off-set the declines in poor single-parent families and resulted in a net increase in the total number of single-parent families.

See a two-page report with Executive Summary and three 3 graphs showing these trends at: www.beverlylahayeinstitute.org.

To schedule an interview:
Contact Angie Vineyard at (202) 289-4182.

Note: Reauthorization debates begin on Capitol Hill in late July.

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