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.