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Report · June 2000

The Rise and Fall of California’s Welfare Caseload: Types and Regions, 1980-1999

Thomas E. MaCurdy, Margaret O’Brien-Strain, and David C. Mancuso

In the years following welfare reform, caseloads have declined considerably both in California and in the rest of the nation.  Nationally, welfare participation has fallen 47 percent from its 1994 peak, yielding the lowest recipiency rate since 1970.  However, participation has fallen by only 30 percent in California, placing it eighth from the bottom among U.S. states.  This smaller decline results primarily from California’s much higher participation rates before 1994.  In this volume, the authors focus on four key factors (the economy, immigration,  demographics, and welfare reform) and their influence over time on the three types of welfare cases:  one-parent, two-parent, and child-only. The authors also identify important issues for consideration in the state’s evolving welfare policies, including the ongoing economic challenges facing rural areas, the side effects of CalWORKs sanctions, and the effects of undocumented immigration.


Health & Safety Net