How Are Families That Left Welfare Doing?

Research Report

How Are Families That Left Welfare Doing?

A Comparison of Early and Recent Welfare Leavers
April 1, 2001


Although many expected recent welfare recipients and leavers to be more disadvantaged than those on welfare at the start of reform, data from the 1997 and 1999 rounds of the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF), showed that there were similarities between the two groups in employment, wages, income, and receipt of government benefits. While fewer leavers in 1999 are in poverty (41 percent in 1999 compared to 48 percent in 1997), the 1999 group reports greater struggles paying for food and housing. Additionally, a much higher share of TANF recipients worked for pay in 1999, especially among those with multiple barriers to employment.

To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.