Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Welfare receipt trajectories of African-American women followed for 30 years

TitleWelfare receipt trajectories of African-American women followed for 30 years
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsJuon, HS, Green, KM, Fothergill, KE, Kasper, JD, Thorpe, RJ, Ensminger, ME
JournalJournal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine
Date PublishedJan
ISBN Number1468-2869; 1099-3460
Accession Number19949992
KeywordsAfrican Americans/psychology/*statistics & numerical data, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Chicago, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Gender Identity, Health Behavior, Health Status, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Middle Aged, Mothers/psychology/*statistics & numerical data, Multivariate Analysis, Poverty/*ethnology/statistics & numerical data, Social Welfare/*ethnology/*statistics & numerical data, Socioeconomic Factors, Urban Population

Although there has been much discussion about the persistence of poverty and welfare receipt among child-rearing women in the US, little is known about long-term patterns of poverty and welfare receipt or what differentiates those who remain on welfare from those who do not. Furthermore, are there distinctions between child-rearing women who are poor but not on welfare from those who do receive welfare? This study examined trajectories of welfare receipt and poverty among African-American women (n = 680) followed from 1966 to 1997. A semiparametric group-based approach revealed four trajectories of welfare receipt: no welfare (64.2%), early leavers (12.7%), late leavers (10.1%), and persistent welfare recipients (10.1%). The "no welfare" group was further divided into a poverty group and a not poverty group to distinguish predictors of welfare from predictors of poverty. Multivariate analyses revealed differences in predictors of trajectory groups in terms of education, physical and psychological health, and social integration. In addition, earlier chronic illness and social integration were important predictors to differentiate between long-term users (i.e., late leavers, persistent recipients) and short-term users (i.e., early leavers). Trajectories did not differ in teenage motherhood, substance use, or family history of welfare receipt. Implications for public policy are discussed.