NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Welfare Goes To Work In Wisconsin

January 15, 1999

This week Wisconsin officials released what's being called a trove of data on former welfare recipients who have found jobs. The study was done after about 75 percent of welfare beneficiaries had moved off the rolls.

  • At the time the survey was taken, 62 percent of former recipients were working and 83 percent had worked at some time in recent months.
  • Fifty-four percent of former recipients had access to a car and only 5 percent said they had been forced to leave their children.
  • Most of those studied were earning considerably more than the minimum wage, with those who had jobs earning on average $262 a week, supplemented by tax credits worth several thousand dollars each year.
  • Of those who had jobs, 57 percent said they worked 40 hours or more a week, while just 9 percent said they worked less than 20 hours.

Experts say some of the questions in the survey were highly subjective. For example, a high percentage of former beneficiaries said that are "barely making it." A high percentage of the country as a whole might say the same thing.

Source: Jason DeParle, "A Welfare Plan Justifies Hopes and Some Fears," New York Times, January 15, 1999.


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