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Statistical Brief: Participants in Assistance Programs

Report Number SB/94-29

How many Americans take part in a major means-tested government assistance program?

To answer this question, this Brief uses three different types of participation rates: average monthly participation in both 1990 and 1991, the percentage receiving assistance for a minimum of 1 month in each year, and the proportion receiving benefits during the entire 2-year span. Also explored are which groups were the most likely participants, the typical length of participation, and the amount of benefits received. The data were collected by the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

Major means-tested assistance programs include Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), General Assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, Medicaid, Federal or State rent assistance, and public housing.

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