NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Urban Beneficiaries Coming Off Welfare More Slowly

June 17, 1999

Welfare reform has made its greatest strides outside major cities, analysts say. In urban areas, the numbers moving from welfare to work are not quite as impressive.

  • Urban counties containing the 30 largest American cities have 20 percent of the nation's population, but 39 percent of welfare recipients, according to Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution.
  • That proportion is up from 33 percent in 1994.
  • From 1994 to 1998, the number of families on welfare declined 35 percent in big cities, and 44 percent for the nation as a whole.
  • Three-fourths of people on welfare live in inner cities, but two-thirds to three-fourths of new jobs are being created outside urban areas, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Whites are leaving welfare rolls much faster than black or Hispanic families. Black and Hispanic welfare recipients together outnumber whites by about 2 to 1.

Source: Robert Pear, "As Welfare Rolls Shrink, Cities Shoulder Bigger Load," New York Times, June 6, 1999.


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