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Timing Out: Long-Term Welfare Caseloads in Large Cities and Counties


This report analyzing caseload data as of the end of 2001 establishes for the first time that long-term welfare cases are located disproportionately in urban areas, in some places to a tremendous degree. While only 33 percent of state residents live in the urban counties we surveyed, those counties were home to over half of their state’s welfare cases facing a federal time limit, and an astounding 71 percent of their state’s long-term cases facing the time limit. We conclude this report with a set of national policy recommendations for welfare reauthorization that address the needs of welfare recipients in the places where they live, and that recognize while many long-term recipients face significant barriers to work, others are working but not earning enough to leave welfare.


Margy Waller

Visiting Fellow, Economic Studies and Metropolitan Policy, The Brookings Institution

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