This exploratory study compared Alabama welfare leavers from two types of rural counties with those from two types of metropolitan counties. It was based on telephone interviews conducted during the summer of 1999 with a random sample of 4 16 people who had left TANF between July and November 1998. There were no statistically significant differences among leavers by county type in the likelihood they were employed and, if employed, in the rate of pay, number of hours worked weekly, or the types of benefits available at the job. Although many respondents no longer received benefits they had received while on TANF (Medicaid, Food Stamps, help receiving child support), county type was unrelated to losing such benefits. There was some suggestion that those residing in persistent poverty counties might have a harder time reaching self sufficiency that those residing in other rural counties. These results must be interpreted with caution due to the exploratory nature ofthe study and the relatively positive economic climate existing when the data were gathered.

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