[Welfare "reform"] supporters...claimed that [Aid to Families with Dependent Children] was responsible for the growth in single motherhood, particularly teen motherhood in minority communities, in the past generation. Abolishing AFDC would supposedly reduce this phenomenon and restore the nuclear family in poor communities. Again, the facts say otherwise. The average woman on AFDC was white and had two children, the same as the average American woman not on AFDC (Abramovitz 1996). In 1996, less than 8 percent of AFDC recipients were teens, with most of those being eighteen or nineteen years of age. (Albelda and Folbre 1996). Finally, if AFDC receipt were the cause of unwed pregnancy, one would expect those states with the highest AFDC benefit levels to have more unwed births. Exactly the contrary is true; in 1996, those states with the highest
benefit levels had the lowest
rates of unwed birth and vice versa (Abramovitz 1996).