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October 1995 - September 1996
This is a report of the demographic characteristics and financial
circumstances of families who received assistance payments under the
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program during fiscal
The data referenced by this document were obtained from a statistically valid sample of AFDC cases within the National Integrated Quality Control System (NIQCS) and represent average monthly amounts for the fiscal year. Data are presented for all States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Administration for Children and Families
The source data were obtained from a statistically valid sample of AFDC cases selected for quality control review during the period of October 1995 - September 1996 (fiscal year 1996). Data from case records were coded onto review schedules and electronically transmitted into the computer center of the United States Department of Agriculture, Kansas City, Kansas.
There were three Federal agencies which participated in this process (the Food and Consumer Service, the Health Care Financing Administration, and the Administration for Children and Families). Each agency used the sample data to determine errors related to eligibility and payment amounts in the program it administers. Each agency has access to data on errors pertaining to only its own program.
In addition, the system is used as the basis for characteristic studies of the population receiving benefits. The system is known as the National Integrated Quality Control System (NIQCS). Recipient characteristics studies have been tabulated since 1983 using the NIQCS database (1984 and 1985 were not published). The AFDC characteristics and financial circumstances data for fiscal year 1996 are also available through the World Wide Web, "http://www.acf.hhs.gov". Data are presented for all States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Statistical specifications can be found in the study design and reliability of estimates (Appendix A). Technical notes related to the tables can be found in the definitions and notes (Appendix B).
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AFDC IN FISCAL YEAR 1996
The AFDC Family and Household
The average monthly number of AFDC families was 4,553,000 in 1996. The estimated total number of AFDC recipients was 3,934,000 adults and 8,686,000 children. The size of AFDC families continued to decrease from a record high of 5,046,000 families in 1994.
The average number of persons in AFDC families remained at 2.8 persons in 1996. A majority of AFDC families continued to live alone. A half of AFDC families lived with no other persons in the household. Of those families not living alone, 3 out 4 contained one or two non-recipient persons. About 83 percent of all non-recipients were related to the youngest child in the AFDC family; 21 percent were grandparents, 13 percent were siblings, 19 percent were parents or step-parents and 30 percent were other relatives.
The AFDC families averaged 1.9 recipient children, which remained unchanged in recent years. Three in every four families had only one or two children. About 1.5 percent of AFDC families included an unborn child. Almost 22 percent of AFDC families had no adult recipients. Seventy percent of families had only one adult recipient, and 8 percent included two or more adult recipients. The number of AFDC families with no adult recipients has steadily increased from 12 percent in 1990.
There was little change in the racial composition of AFDC families. Three of five AFDC families were members of minority races or ethnic groups. Black families comprised 37 percent of AFDC families. White families comprised 36 percent of the families and 21 percent were Hispanic.
Over 60 percent of AFDC families lived in private rented housing and received no rent subsidies. Nine percent lived in public housing, and 15 percent received HUD or other rent subsidies. Seven percent lived in rent-free quarters. Only 4 percent owned or were buying their own homes. Almost 90 percent of AFDC families participated in the Food Stamp program.
The length of time on assistance is measured from the date of the most recent opening of the case. The median length of time on assistance was 2 years. One in three families had been on the rolls for one year or less, and one in five had been on the rolls for five years or more. More than 40 percent of the families are known to have been on the rolls sometime prior to the most recent opening. These findings have been fairly consistent over the years.Back to Top
The AFDC Children
AFDC children averaged about 7.6 years of age. One fifth of the recipient children were under 3 years of age, while 44 percent of these children were under 6 years of age. Only 10 percent of the children were 15 years of age or older.
Deprivation of parental support is a condition of eligibility for a child to receive AFDC. Deprivation may be due to continued absence, death, incapacity, or unemployment of a parent. Continued absence of either parent was the most significant reason for deprivation. Eighty-five percent of all AFDC children were deprived of support due to continued absence. The percent of AFDC children of unemployed parents by reason of deprivation slightly increased to 8.3 percent from the 1995 level of 7.8 percent. Children of deceased and incapacitated parents remained unchanged at 6 percent. Unmarried parentage superseded marital breakup as the leading cause of continued absence of a parent. This trend has been unchanged in recent years. Almost 3 in 5 recipient children were the children of unmarried parents, while 1 in 4 were the children of divorced and separated parents.
The AFDC Adults
Nearly all of the AFDC adult recipients were the parents of the recipient children. Ninety-six percent of the adult recipients were natural or adoptive parents. Less than 2 percent were grandparents. Most AFDC adults were women. Men represented only 13 percent of AFDC adults in 1996.
The average age of AFDC adults recipients was 30 years for women and 35 years for men. Of the female adult recipients, 6 percent were teenagers and 14 percent were 40 years of age or older. There were 234,000 AFDC teenage mothers in 1996. Of the AFDC teenage mothers, only 20 percent were under 18 years of age.
Most of AFDC adults were U.S. citizens. Non-citizens residing legally in this country were 12 percent of AFDC adults.
Employment remained low among AFDC adult recipients in 1996. About 10 percent of the recipient women and 20 percent of the recipient men were employed. Also, 10 percent of women and 16 percent of men were unemployed, i.e., seeking work or on layoff. The percentage of adults in school or in training was 13 percent for women and 14 percent for men. Two-thirds of women and half of men were not employed and not in school or training. Eleven percent of females and 14 percent of male adult recipients were mandatory registrants who were participating in some type of employment training program. About 36 percent of females and 47 percent of male adult recipients were mandatory registrants but not participating in any employment training program. About 52 percent of females and 39 percent of male adult recipients were exempt from the employment training program. The common reason for exemption was that they were a caretaker, either for an underage dependent child or for an ill or incapacitated household member. Almost two of every three exempt adults were exempt because they were caretakers. Nearly 14 percent of adult recipients were exempt because of age, poor health or pregnancy.
The amount of the AFDC payment depends upon the family size, the payment standard in effect and other available income. The monthly AFDC payment amount averaged $371 per family in 1996. The monthly AFDC payment to the families was $287 for one child, $377 for two children, $444 for three children and $580 for four children or more. One in every four AFDC families had non-AFDC income. The average monthly amount of non-AFDC income was $352 per family. Eleven percent of the AFDC families had earned income with an average monthly amount of $466. On average, about 51 percent of earnings were disregarded for work expenses and/or dependent care. Also, the first $30 plus 1/3 of all remaining gross earned income was not counted in computing the AFDC payment. Of the AFDC families with earned income, the mother was the earner in more than three fourths. The AFDC families having earned income has increased from 10 percent in 1995 and 9 percent in 1994. Fifteen percent of the AFDC families had unearned income. This percentage has not changed in the last 3 years; however, the average monthly amount of unearned income has increased to $221 in 1996 from $190 in 1995 and $175 in 1994. Thirty percent of the families with unearned income, or 4.5 percent of the total AFDC families, received the child support pass-through of up to $50. Fifteen percent of the families with unearned income, or 2.3 percent of the total AFDC families, received Social Security benefits. Fourteen percent of the families with unearned income, or 2.2 percent of the total AFDC families, received contributions.
Half of the AFDC households included other persons not in the assistance unit. Of those households, 58 percent had monthly earned and/or unearned income averaging $628. Of such AFDC households, 8 percent had earned income with the monthly average of $987, 53 percent received public assistance (AFDC, GA, SSI, FS and/or housing subsidy) with the monthly average of $459, and 12 percent had unearned income with the monthly average of $385.
One in five families had some countable assets with the average value of $416. The average monthly income of all AFDC households was $573 in 1996.
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TABLE 1--AFDC Families by number of persons in the household
TABLE 2--AFDC Families by number of household members not in the assistance unit
TABLE 3--AFDC Families by number of persons in the assistance unit
TABLE 4--AFDC Families by type of shelter arrangement
TABLE 5--AFDC Families by participation in food stamp program
TABLE 6--AFDC Families by number of recipient children
TABLE 7--AFDC Families with no adult recipients by number of recipient children
TABLE 8--AFDC Families with one adult recipient by number of recipient children
TABLE 9--AFDC Families with two or more adult recipients by number of recipient children
TABLE 10--AFDC Families by race of natural or adoptive parent
TABLE 11--AFDC Families by age of the youngest child in the assistance unit
TABLE 12--AFDC Families by number of months since most recent opening
TABLE 13--AFDC Families by prior receipt of AFDC
TABLE 14--AFDC Families by number of months since most recent action
TABLE 15--AFDC Families by reason of deprivation of the youngest child
TABLE 16--AFDC recipient children by reason of deprivation
TABLE 17--AFDC recipient children by race
TABLE 18--AFDC recipient children by age
TABLE 19--AFDC male recipient children by age
TABLE 20--AFDC female recipient children by age
TABLE 21.1--AFDC mothers (under 20) of youngest child in family by age
TABLE 21.2--AFDC mothers (under 18) of youngest child by their relationship to the head of the household
TABLE 21.3--AFDC teen parents (under 18) of youngest child by their relationship to the head of the household
TABLE 21.4--AFDC teen parents (under 20) of youngest child by their relationship to the head of the household
TABLE 22--AFDC female adult recipients by age
TABLE 23--AFDC female adult recipients by employment status
TABLE 24--AFDC female adult recipients by employment training program status
TABLE 25--AFDC male adult recipients by age
TABLE 26--AFDC male adult recipients by employment status
TABLE 27--AFDC male adult recipients by employment training program status
TABLE 28--AFDC adult recipients exempt from employment training programs by reason of exemption
TABLE 29--AFDC adult recipients by citizenship status
TABLE 30--All AFDC recipients by citizenship status
TABLE 31--All AFDC recipients by years of education - NOT PUBLISHED
TABLE 32--AFDC adults in the assistance unit by their relationship to the youngest child in the AFDC unit
TABLE 33--Persons not in the assistance unit by their relationship to the youngest child in the AFDC unit
TABLE 34--Average monthly AFDC payment by number of recipient children in the assistance unit
TABLE 35--Average monthly amount of total cash received by number of recipient children
TABLE 36--AFDC Families by receipt of nonAFDC income
TABLE 37--AFDC households by receipt of nonAFDC income
TABLE 38--AFDC Families with earned income by type of income
TABLE 39--Disregards of AFDC Families with earned income
TABLE 40--AFDC Families with earnings by type of person with earnings
TABLE 41--AFDC households with earnings by type of person with earnings
TABLE 42--AFDC Families with unearned income by type of income
TABLE 43--AFDC Families with countable assets by type of asset
TABLE 44--AFDC households with persons not in the assistance unit by type of and amount of income
TABLE 45--Average monthly income of AFDC households by number of persons in the household
Appendix A--Technical Appendix A - Study Design and Relibility of Estimates
TABLE I--Average monthly number of AFDC families, number in sample, sampling fraction and percent by which estimate of 50 percent might vary from true value at the 95 percent confidence level by State, fiscal year 1996
TABLE II--Approximate standard error of estimated percentages of AFDC families for fiscal year 1996.
TABLE III--Significant differences for percentage values between the United States and States with samples of 300, fiscal year 1996
TABLE IV--Significant differences for percentage values between the United States and States with samples of 2,400, fiscal year 1996
TABLE V--Significant differences for percentage values between States with samples of 300, fiscal year 1996
TABLE VI--Significant differences for percentage values between States with samples of 2,400, fiscal year 1996
Table Definitions and Notes
Appendix B--Technical Appendix B - Table Definitions and Notes