[URPE] News Release: Public Assistance Not Reaching Poor Women During Recession
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Thu Sep 2 15:22:11 MDT 2010
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Press Release for Immediate
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dr. Jane Henrici, 202-785-5100
Public Assistance Not Reaching Poor Women During Recession
Tremendous variation across the states
WASHINGTON, DC - 15.5 million women are living in poverty but, as a
Briefing Paper released today by the Institute for Women's Policy
ZOhv-2Paqil6Hmml3L6elj_PFRoFtjJa2cpJwBKxQ==> (IWPR) shows, the number
of women receiving public assistance is much smaller. Further, the
distribution of supports varies a great deal depending on the region and
the state, so that poor women in some parts of the country are much less
likely to get help than in others.
"Women in Poverty During the Great Recession,"
uaObv9AoO-At646OaIxAvr7SC7N0UCYz97959aRa4Bfn7EPKBlk> an IWPR Briefing
Paper analyzing the most recent American Community Survey data from the
U.S. Census Bureau, finds that in every state a large number of adult
women who live in poverty are not receiving help through benefit
programs. Focusing on food stamps, heath coverage, and cash assistance,
IWPR finds that the rates of adult women in poverty during the recession
who are not receiving assistance vary among different public programs
and across the states and regions.
Although 10.6 million adult women in poverty have either public or
private health insurance, another 4.9 million are not covered. For
nutrition support, 5.9 million women in poverty use food stamps, but 9.6
million do not. Meanwhile, fewer than 750,000 poor adult women with
children receive cash aid through TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families) while 5.4 million do not.
The largest observed gap relates to the TANF program: 88 percent of
impoverished women with dependent children are going without that
support. Across the states, the percent of women who do not have cash
assistance through TANF ranges from the best, at only 60 percent in the
District of Columbia, to the worst, at 96 percent in Louisiana.
Health coverage and food stamps reach more women in poverty than TANF,
but still leave many uncovered: nationwide, nearly one-third of women in
poverty are without either public or private health coverage and 62
percent of poor women do not receive food stamps. The variation across
the states is much greater in health coverage than in nutrition support.
In Massachusetts, the best state, only 8 percent of poor women are
without health insurance, while in Texas, the worst state, 50 percent of
poor women have no health coverage. For food stamp benefits, 44 percent
of poor women lack that support in Maine, the best state, while 77
percent go without that assistance in California, the worst state.
"Especially during an economic downturn, the social safety net needs to
be stronger to help prevent families in poverty from sinking even
further," states Dr. Jane Henrici, IWPR Study Director. "During these
hard economic times, public assistance programs should support poor
women and their families, but too many are not receiving any kind of
help at all."
View the Policy Brief here
The report was prepared with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation,
the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous
research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women,
promote public dialogue, and strengthen families, communities, and
societies. The Institute works with policymakers, scholars, and public
interest groups to de-sign, execute, and disseminate research that
illuminates economic and social policy issues affecting women and their
families, and to build a network of individuals and organizations that
conduct and use women-oriented policy research. IWPR's work is supported
by foundation grants, government grants and contracts, donations from
individuals, and contributions from organizations and corporations. IWPR
is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation
with the women's studies and public policy programs at The George
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