This brief, based on the 1997 National Survey of America's Families, offers a national profile of welfare recipients. Although a high proportion of recipients participated in work activities in 1997 by historical standards, they reported numerous personal obstacles to work: low education, limited work experience, the need to care for a child, English language limitations, or very poor mental or physical health. The more obstacles welfare recipients faced, the less likely they were to work. Those reporting two or more obstacles to work (44 percent) and no current work activity comprised 27 percent of the TANF caseload in 1997.
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