State Fact Sheets: Trends in State TANF-to-Poverty Ratios
March 4, 2020
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, created in 1996, provides temporary financial assistance to few poor families — including those with no other means to meet basic needs — and its reach has shrunk considerably over time. In 2018, for every 100 families in poverty, only 22 received cash assistance from TANF — down from 68 families when TANF was first enacted. This “TANF-to-poverty ratio” (TPR) is at the lowest point in TANF’s history.
The TPR varies widely among states, ranging from just 4 in Louisiana to 68 in California. In 16 states, the ratio is 10 or less, meaning that for every 100 families living in poverty, 10 or fewer receive TANF cash assistance.
In the map below, click on a state for a fact sheet detailing trends in its TANF caseload and the program’s ability to reach families in poverty.
Click on the state abbreviation (above) or name (below) to jump to its fact sheets.