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The Welfare Generation: 51.7% Kids in 2017 Lived in Households Getting Govt Assistance

The Census Bureau has released new data that strengthens the case for calling the current generation of American children “The Welfare Generation.”

Among American residents under 18 years of age in 2017, according to the Census Bureau, 51.7 percent lived in households in which one or more persons received benefits from a means-tested government program.

That was down slightly from the 52.1 percent of Americans under 18 in 2016 who lived in households receiving means-tested government assistance. (Also, because this new Census Bureau estimate is for 2017, it predates the significant economic and job growth the United States has seen in 2018).

But in each of the last five years on record (2013 through 2017), according to the Census Bureau, at least 51 percent of Americans under 18 have lived in households receiving means-tested government assistance.

In fact, the 51.7 percent in 2017 was the lowest percentage in any of the last five years on record.

The programs the Census Bureau includes in its estimate of how many people are living in households receiving means-tested government assistance include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), Supplemental Security Income, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, Medicaid, public housing, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the National School Lunch Program.

The data on the number of people living in households in which one or more persons received means-tested government assistance comes from Table POV-26 of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, 2018 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

The table enumerates, by various characteristics, “[p]eople who lived with someone (a nonrelative or relative) who received aid.”

“Not every person tallied here,” Table POV-26 says, “received the aid themselves.”

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