Download the Data

Before welfare reform in 1996, states were mostly required to give cash assistance to anyone who was eligible — without work requirements or time limits. The amount of money from the federal government varied year to year based on need. After welfare reform, the government capped the program at $16.5 billion dollars. Now, states receive a block grant, and they can choose to spend their federal money as long as it fits within four categories:

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Note: Single-year labels represent two-year averages; for example '2016' represents '2015-2016'.

Did You Know?

In 1996, for every 100 poor families with children in Iowa, 64 received cash welfare. By 2016, just 22 families received TANF assistance for every 100 families with children in poverty.

Hear the stories on ‘The Uncertain Hour’ podcast