This article examines the extent to which declines in welfare rolls relate to five major dimensions of community: (1) local demographic composition, (2) local labor market conditions, (3) local civic capacity, (4) local spatial characteristics, and (5) changes in local economic opportunities. Results based on data from the Mississippi Department of Human Services indicate that demographically, economically, and socially advantaged communities were more likely to experience high declines in welfare rolls. Rurality was associated with lower likelihood of high declines in welfare rolls across Mississippi counties. Clearly, a combination of a stronger local economy and social support in a local area increases the likelihood of larger decline in welfare rolls. The analysis presented in this article suggests that there is substantial local variation in the decline in welfare rolls that is associated with local economic and social conditions. The success of welfare reform policies clearly hinge on local conditions. What this analysis cannot reveal is the extent to which decline in welfare rolls is the result of recipients marrying, finding good jobs, or simply running up against time limits imposed by the welfare reform legislation.
Parisi, Domenico, Diane McLaughlin, Michael Taquino, Steven Grice, and Neil White. 2002. "TANF/Welfare Client Decline and Community Context in the Rural South, 1997-2000." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 18(1): Article 6. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol18/iss1/6