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State Fact Sheets: Trends in State TANF-to-Poverty Ratios

December 13, 2017

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, created by the 1996 welfare law, provides a temporary safety net to few poor families — including those with no other means to meet basic needs — and its reach has shrunk considerably over time. In 2016, for every 100 families in poverty, only 23 received cash assistance from TANF — down from 68 families when TANF was first enacted. This “TANF-to-poverty ratio” (TPR) reached its lowest point in 2014 and remained there in 2015 and 2016.

The TPR varies widely among states, ranging from 4 (in Louisiana) to 66 (in California). In 15 states, the ratio is 10 or less, meaning that for every 100 families living in poverty, 10 or fewer receive TANF cash assistance. In 2006, only two states had TPRs that low.

In the map below, click on a state for a fact sheet detailing trends in its TANF caseload.

Click on the state abbreviation (above) or name (below) to jump to its fact sheets.

TANF State-by-State Fact Sheets
Alabama Indiana Nebraska South Carolina
Alaska Iowa Nevada South Dakota
Arizona Kansas New Hampshire Tennessee
Arkansas Kentucky New Jersey Texas
California Louisiana New Mexico Utah
Colorado Maine New York Vermont
Connecticut Maryland North Carolina Virginia
Delaware Massachusetts North Dakota Washington
Florida Michigan Ohio West Virginia
Georgia Minnesota Oklahoma Wisconsin
Hawaii Mississippi Oregon Wyoming
Idaho Missouri Pennsylvania  
Illinois Montana Rhode Island  
United States