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Fertility and Program Participation in the United States: 1996

Written by:
Report Number P70-82


1996 Program coverage: AFDC, Food Stamps, WIC, and Medicaid

This report presents data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) about the fertility and socioeconomic characteristics of mothers in 1996 related to participation in four programs: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC); food stamps; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and Medicaid (see the definition box at the end of the report). Information on mothers’ participation in public assistance programs from three Census Bureau statistical briefs based on SIPP data in 19931 have been extended to mothers in 1996. Expanding the scope of the previously released briefs, 1996 data on mothers’ participation in Medicaid have been included. Because this report focuses on the fertility differences between mothers in their childbearing ages, its findings are limited to women 15 to 44 years old in 1996 who had given birth to one or more children.

These data take on added importance because in 1996 Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA).2 So, the 1996 SIPP data provide a pre-welfare reform benchmark from which to study the impact of this legislative change on mothers’ fertility and socioeconomic characteristics at the national level. Subsequent SIPP data providing information similar to that found in this report was collected in 2001 and will be available for future analysis. In addition, the Census Bureau is conducting the Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD), a longitudinal survey specifically designed to evaluate welfare reform. More detailed information on the effect of PRWORA and changes in program participation and family characteristics will be available when these data files are released.

1 U.S. Census Bureau. Mothers Who Receive AFDC Payments: Fertility and Socioeconomic Characteristics, SB/95-2. Washington, DC, 1995; Mothers Who Receive Food Stamps: Fertility and Socioeconomic Characteristics, SB/95-22. Washington, DC, 1995; Mothers Who Receive WIC Benefits: Fertility and Socioeconomic Characteristics, SB/95-29. Washington, DC, 1995.

2 U.S. Congress, Public Law 104-193: Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996: H.R. 3734, 1996.

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