NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Workfare In New York City

December 22, 1998

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is being credited with a spirited attack on welfare -- which was once almost romanticized by liberals there. A year ago, he charged Jason A. Turner -- a veteran of Wisconsin's anti-welfare campaign and an uncompromising critic of welfare assistance -- with the job of cleaning up the public assistance rolls. The mayor has vowed "to end welfare by the end of this century completely."

  • When Giuliani took office in 1993, the city had more than one million people on public assistance -- one in every seven New Yorkers.
  • In the past five years, more than 400,000 recipients have been dropped from the rolls -- a number which exceeds the population of Buffalo.
  • One in 20 of the city's residents is someone who has been moved off of welfare during Giuliani's tenure.
  • New York's workfare program covers 10 percent of the city's welfare recipients.

In the early 1990s, about 75 percent of those who applied for welfare were accepted. In his first four years, Giuliani cut that to around 50 percent. Now in the job centers, the average rate has fallen to 25 percent.

Source: Jason DeParle, "What Welfare-to-Work Really Means," New York Times Magazine, December 20, 1998.


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