NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Welfare Reform Reduced Child Poverty

June 14, 2002

One of the goals of welfare reform was to raise the standard of living of children in poor families. And as single mothers on welfare found work, the well-being of their children did improve.

  • More than half of mothers on welfare have moved off welfare rolls since reforms were initiated in 1996.
  • Overall, the child poverty rate has fallen to an estimated 14.8 percent.
  • Child poverty among blacks and Hispanics is also down -- although it remains higher than the national overall average.

Critics claim that by some measures child poverty in the U.S. is significantly higher than in other economically advanced countries, principally European nations. However, poverty rates are measured differently across nations and typically are not comparable.

Source: Jeff Madrick (Cooper Union), "Economic Scene: There Have Been Significant Changes in the Welfare System, Yet a Rise in Child Poverty Rates is Now a Risk in the U.S.," New York Times, June 13, 2002.


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