TANF Caseload Composition and Leavers Synthesis Report

Publication Date: March 28, 2007


The dramatic decline in welfare caseloads in the 1990s suggested that welfare reform was achieving one of its major goals: reducing dependency. It also raised questions among policymakers, program administrators, advocates, and the public as to whether the characteristics of the caseload were changing, whether families that left welfare were better off than when they were on welfare, and whether former recipients were making progress in the labor market.

The purpose of this report is to summarize what we know about these issues for current TANF recipients and former recipients (“leavers”) from existing literature and to update our knowledge with new analysis using more recent data.

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