Here are the statistics on welfare recipients:
Traits of families on AFDC (1)
Time on AFDC
Less than 7 months 19.0%
7 to 12 months 15.2
One to two years 19.3
Two to five years 26.9
Over five years 19.6
Number of children
Four or more 10.3
Age of Mother
20 - 29 47.9
30 - 39 32.7
40 or older 11.8
Status of Father 1973 1992
Divorced or separated 46.5% 28.6
Deceased 5.0 1.6
Unemployed or Disabled 14.3 9.0
Not married to mother 31.5 55.3
Other or Unknown 2.7 5.5
Notes on teenagers
As the statistics show, teenage mothers comprise a very small part of the welfare population.
And contrary to popular belief, teenage pregnancy has declined in the last several decades. Many are surprised to learn that the height of teenage pregnancy in the U.S. actually occurred in the 1950s - a decade known for its supposed conservative social values. Between 1960 and 1992, the number of births per 1,000 teenagers (aged 15-19) declined from 89 to 61. (2)
However, this was also an era when individual welfare benefits declined. Between 1970 and 1991, the purchasing power of benefits for the typical AFDC family fell 42 percent, primarily as a result of state and federal cuts. (3) Ironically, many conservatives will be surprised to learn that their correlation still stands, even if they thought it was in the other direction.
However, the period from 1946 to 1963 is known as the "Baby Boom," because all childbearing age groups - not just teenagers - were having children at unusually high rates. The teenage birth rate is not the only one that has declined in the decades since.
Furthermore, the socially conservative 50s featured much less sex education, and many sexually active teenagers were ignorant of birth control. The falling teenage birthrates in the last several decades could as well be correlated with better sex education as falling individual welfare payments.
And on that score, we should compare the U.S to Europe, which not only promotes early sex education to a far greater degree, but also has far greater welfare benefits for mothers with dependent children. And the success or failure of these two very different policies can be seen in the following statistics:
Sexually active teenage population: (4)
United States 65
United Kingdom 57
Percent who have not had intercourse by age 20:
Belgium 61 63
Netherlands 58 62
Germany 33 28
Norway 33 25
United Kingdom 24 23
France 9 25
United States 12 16
Percent of sexually active single 15 to 19-year olds using
United Kingdom 92
United States 56
Teen pregnancies per 1,000 teenagers:
United States 98.0
United Kingdom 46.6
Teenage mothers per 1,000 teenagers
United States 54
United Kingdom 31
Notes on race
Blacks comprise only 12 percent of the nation, but, according to the above figures, they comprise 37 percent of the welfare rolls. This should not be surprising; in 1994, blacks had a poverty rate of 33 percent. We should not, of course, think it unusual to find poor people on welfare. Consequently, discussions of race and welfare must turn on different issues.
The most prevalent question is why there are so many blacks in poverty. Liberals argue that it is the result of continuing racism and discrimination, especially at hiring time. Conservatives have argued a variety of other causes: moral shortcomings, poor work ethic, even intellectual inferiority. Another important question is whether welfare causes poverty.
Return to Overview
1. Overview of Entitlement Programs, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994).
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Characteristics and Financial Condition of AFDC Recipients, Fiscal Year 1992 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1992); 1994 Green Book, p. 47.
2) You don't want me to be banned, do you?....
I'm beginning to think they brought Aaronssong out of retirement to get rid of me.......
Last edited by Partisan; 03-21-10 at 10:36 AM.
I went to an majority black high school. It was located in the projects of east Raleigh, NC. It was called Enloe: Enloe High School - [Enloe High School]. They made it the Magnet School for Wake County and I went there freshman and sophomore years. There was pressure on black kids to be cool and NOT do well in class. There were gangs. There were black-white fights. We got chased out of the projects and a friend of mine got cut in a fight. There were onyl a few blacks kids I knew that did well and they were strongly picked on by other black kids. It took real effort for them to be successful.
White kids experience something similar, but it is without the added racial message.
Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller