Financial Self-Sufficiency Or Return to Welfare? a Longitudinal Study of Mothers Among the Working Poor

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This study investigated how working-poor mothers who withdrew from a US government assistance program were affected by the economy, welfare reform policies, and their own human capital, in terms of their likelihood of returning to welfare and their likelihood of becoming nonpoor through work. The study employed longitudinal data (covering 42 months) extracted from a national data set. The sample for the current study, which relied on event history analysis, consisted of 228 working-poor former welfare mothers. Results showed that the women's return to welfare was correlated to high unemployment, restrictive welfare policies, enrollment in Medicaid and food-stamp programs, possession of service-job skills, and being Hispanic. The women were most likely to attain relative financial independence in the presence of generous government assistance program policies, housing assistance, full-time employment, operative-job skills, college education, and marriage. African American ethnicity also made achievement of financial independence more likely.



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