Welfare Reform

by the numbers

Percent of Americans who tell pollsters the government is spending too much on "people on welfare": 66

Percent who say the government spends too much on "poor children": 9

Percent who think the government should be cutting benefits to low-income families: 21

Percent who think it should increase them: 29

Amount the reform is supposed to save the federal government each year, on average, for the next six: $9 billion

Amount military spending increased in 1996: $12 billion

Amount by which AFDC costs increased in the three recessionary years of 1990-92: $6 billion

Amount in "recession contingency" funds set aside under the welfare-reform legislation, for five years: $2 billion

Percent of total federal spending taken up by AFDC: 1

Number of people on an average night who slept at the Hennepin County "safe waiting space" when it opened in the lobby of the GA building in 1996: 105

Number who slept there in March 1997, in new quarters on Currie Avenue: 307

Monthly benefits of an elderly/disabled immigrant living alone, before being cut from SSI: $616

After the cut: $290

HUD fair-market rent for an efficiency in the Twin Cities: $378

Number of families who received AFDC cash assistance in Hennepin and Ramsey counties during an average month in 1996: 28,120

Average payment they received: $470.25

Percent of families on welfare with one or two children: 75

With five or more: 2

Amount of average AFDC grant for a family of three in state with the lowest benefit (Mississippi): $120

In state with highest benefit (Alaska): $923

Rank of Minnesota's average 1995 AFDC grant among states: 14

Rank of state in child poverty: 25

In poverty among children of color: 1

Rank of United States in child poverty among 17 industrialized nations: 16

Amount Minnesota spent in 1994 on Emergency Assistance funds to hold off utility shutoffs for poor households: $2.8 million

Amount allocated for Emergency Assistance under the welfare reform bill: $0

Amount by which AFDC grants have risen since 1982, in dollars: $0

Amount by which legislators' salaries have increased since then: $11,158

Amount by which average yearly rents have risen in the Twin Cities: $700

Percent of AFDC recipients in Hennepin County who pay more than half their grant toward housing: 60

Percent who pay more than 80 percent: 30

Percent of state budget spent on public assistance: 20

Percentage of that spent on medical care: 80

Amount each Minnesotan spent on AFDC, 1994: $60

Ratio of dollars Minnesota spent on "corporate welfare" to AFDC, 1994: 8:1

Average food-stamp benefit, per person, per meal, before the cuts, in dollars: $.80

After the cuts: $.66

Cost of a package of Soup-in-a-Cup, Lake Street Cub Foods: $1.09

Ratio of Minnesotans who used food shelves at least once in 1995: 1 in 16

Percent of those who reported employment as their household's main source of income: 32

Percent who had lived in Minnesota five years or more: 82

Percent who said children in their household had skipped meals for lack of money: 25

Percent who said adults had: 53

Sources: Minnesota Department of Human Services, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Minnesota Department of Health, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Congressional Budget Office, Urban Coalition, Heritage Foundation, Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action, Public Opinion Quarterly, Center for the Study of Policy Attitudes.

 
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