Welfare is a divisive subject in many circles. For some, it seems like a way for people to make it in the world today without every need to lift a finger to work. For others, it is an essential part of life because they’ve lost everything and would be on the streets without it. The welfare recipients demographics might seem like they belong to a certain group of people, but the statistics show that most assumptions people make about welfare are wrong.
People on welfare spend a larger portion of their income on life basics, such as housing, food, and transportation than any other income group.
There are a lot of assumptions that people on welfare purchase life’s little luxuries at the expensive of the taxpayer, like alcohol, cigarettes, or even illegal drugs. Although any program is abused and there are those who do what many assume welfare recipients will do, the average families on these assistance programs aren’t living the high life. At best, they are barely getting by in one of the world’s wealthiest nations.
- The average household that accepts some sort of welfare assistance puts, on average, 77% of their income toward necessities, which is 12% higher than families who do not receive welfare.
- 1 out of every 4 welfare recipients goes without a car, while only 3% of households who receive no benefits live the same lifestyle.
- 3 out of 4 households that receive welfare are renters, while the opposite is true for those who receive no support.
- The average family size that receives welfare benefits is 3.7, which is exactly the same as families who receive no benefits.
- This has occurred even though the average purchasing power of welfare benefits in 2014 has become less than welfare benefits that were received in 1996.
- The average family who receives welfare benefits and is required to live on them solely will make 50% of the poverty line, or less than $10,000. That’s not enough to rent a 2 bedroom apartment in most communities.
- For families on the SNAP program, the amount per meal of assistance that is received is less than $1.40.
There are numerous conversations held every day about how families are just having children so they can make more in benefits and not have to work in the US. The sad fact is that 1 out of every 7 households has to skip a meal at least once per week and 20% of American kids are chronically hungry because of attitudes such as these. It isn’t some welfare queen that is sucking up tax dollars that we need to worry about. It is our friends, neighbors, and loved ones who are forced to seek welfare assistance because they can’t get a job that meets their needs. That’s the welfare recipient demographic that everyone encounters every day.
How Much Is Actually Spend on Welfare Every Year?
- The average annual budget for welfare assistance in the United States is about $130 billion. This is about what the US spends on the VA annually.
- Although African Americans make up a disproportionate number of welfare recipients based on their population percentage in the US, blacks and whites are on welfare equally in the raw data.
- The total amount of money you can make every month and still receive assistance is just $1,000.
- There are 39 states where welfare recipients are able to make more than someone working full time at an $8 per hour job.
- 1 out of every 5 welfare recipients will get off of the benefit in 7 months or less. An equal amount will still be a recipient of welfare 5 years after the first time they receive aid when they have dependent children.
- Only 7% of welfare recipients have more than 3 children at home. More than 50% of families had just one child.
- When it comes to TANF for families, more than 50% of the households that are enrolled in the program don’t have any adults in that household enrolled in the program.
The usual rebuttal is something like this: “So what if only the children are on the program? The adults get to benefit from it too!” That’s not necessarily true. Although TANF benefits typically come on debit cards these days, there is still accountability in place for use of the funds. The debate about how this accountability is enforced is a legitimate question to ask, but the process is there to make sure parents or guardians are purchasing items for their kids that are needed. The same is true for programs that provide food assistance like WIC. The bottom line is this: the average recipient of welfare isn’t a 32 mother of 6. It’s a 7 year old boy who has to eat rice most nights because it is what the family can afford with their benefits.
What Do Welfare Recipients Actually Get?
- Most welfare recipients, up to 97%, receive some form of state aid in regards to the health care and insurance, such as Medicaid, and the coverage provided varies from state to state.
- 55% of Americans have received some form of public benefit at some point of time in their lives.
- For families that receive TANF and SNAP, the average SNAP benefit paid out was $378 per month.
- Only 1.3% of TANF families had their cases closed and benefits stopped because they reached the federal time limits in place. 16% had cases closed because of employment and about 13% had cases closed voluntarily.
- Nearly 20% of TANF cases are closed because of non-compliance, which means paperwork may not have been filled out by a deadline or required documents submitted as requested.
- Only 15% of cases are closed by TANF because of sanctions imposed.
The reality is that most people don’t want to stay on benefits over the long-term. They want to be able to support themselves and help others, but sometimes they need a little help when times get tough. That nature, of helping others when they are down, is what made the United States a great country once. Today this nature is threatened by political rancor that is based on selfish greed instead of care and compassion. To deny the average family help because one person at one point in time bought lobster and Mountain Dew with their food stamps is just as shameful as someone who tries to manipulate the system.
Who Actually Benefits From Welfare?
- According to Pew Research, more conservatives [57%] have benefited from welfare programs than liberals [53%] that choose to self-identify.
- 53% of those who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 stated that they had benefited at least once from a major entitlement program, though Obama supporters were slightly higher at 59%.
- One third of Americans have benefited from at least 2 of the 6 major benefit programs.
- Women are 12% more likely to receive an entitlement benefit than men and rural residents are more likely to receive benefits than urban or suburban households.
- Once someone reaches the age of 65 in the US, there is a 97% chance that they have received at least one form of welfare over the course of their life.
- Pew research also shows that 6 out of every 10 Americans believes it is the government’s responsibility to care for those who cannot care for themselves.
- When welfare benefits are specifically segregated from every other entitlement program, only 8% of Americans have receive services from the government.
- 31% of Americans who qualify as a high income earner, or a salary above $100k per year, have received the benefits of a poverty program at least once.
What is remarkable about welfare recipient demographics is that virtually every American who reaches senior status receives some sort of benefit. Only 3% have never taken some for of public assistance, which means many of those who complain about these entitlements are taking advantage of them at least once in their lives. This means that the only people who are truly living large in the US right now are those that are in the wealthy class. Everyone else is suffering from reduced value in their wages, stagnant salaries that sometimes haven’t been raised since 2008, and fewer benefits. Is it any wonder why the average American household then is struggling so much?
Is There Any Place Where Welfare Recipients Are Less Common?
- People who have an income below the poverty line in the Midwest are the least likely to be receiving a welfare benefit. Those on the East Coast are the most likely to be receiving a benefit.
- Democrats are overall more likely to utilize a welfare program more than Republicans or Independents, but political leanings pluralize the older the demographic is.
- 41% of households that receive welfare benefits are also currently working at the same time, qualifying them to be in the demographic of the working poor.
- To qualify for food stamps, a family of four must make less than $29k per year AND have a savings account that is less than $2,000.
- 38% of Americans who qualify for food stamps don’t every apply to receive them.
- There are over 66 million people right now that receive Medicaid benefits.
- Over the last 12 months, 18% of Americans will have participated in the food stamps program at least once and 1 in 4 households have received or just recently terminated participation in the program.
Despite conservative opposition to public assistance programs, the demographics of welfare are a virtual plurality in almost every category. In surveys, there is a slight advantage toward Democrats in using food stamps and other programs compared to Republicans, but when percentage errors are included in the numbers, everything equates across the board. This means everyone you know may have been on welfare at least once and everyone you know may need these programs at any given moment – including yourself. What makes more sense with welfare isn’t to eliminate it or cut the value of what is received, but to make it more efficient. Give people proper tools so they can build a strong foundation to help them start over. By doing so, the US could build itself up into a true superpower once again.
Black Teenage Women? It’s Not Welfare Like You Think
- 91% of welfare benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, and households that are currently working.
- The average person on welfare is using 100% of their time to provide for their basic needs, which means without any outside intervention, they have no way to break free.
- There are currently 4.3 million Americans on welfare rolls that don’t include basic food assistance and 57% of them have a head of household that is a 1st generation immigrant.
- Immigrants from the Dominican Republic make up 82% of welfare recipients who are 1st generation families in the US, while European immigrants make up less than 10% of the total need.
What does this all say about the United States? Illegal immigration makes up less than an estimated 4% of the population, which means that most people have a legitimate and legal need to this program. What is difficult to swallow is that there are several states where welfare benefits equal more than what the average teacher’s salary happens to be in that community. Until we can pay fair wages to our public servants and encourage true financial change from a business perspective, there’s one guarantee that can be had: the welfare recipient demographics will continue to increase because more families will be making less. It is important to remember one thing: people don’t always choose a poverty lifestyle. Sometimes it chooses them instead.