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Gaining Ground, Moving Up: The Change in the Economic Status of Single Mothers Under Welfare Reform

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Publication Date: March 2003

Publisher(s): Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Center for Civic Innovation

Author(s): June O'Neill; M. Anne Hill

Topic: Economics (Economic conditions)
Social conditions (Public welfare and social services)

Keywords: single mothers; welfare reform

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


This report examines how the economic circumstances of single mothers changed after welfare reform. The primary author, Dr. June O'Neill, found that the poverty rate for single mothers dropped by roughly 20% following reform, reaching an all-time low in 2000. The proportion of single mothers who were employed also surged during this period, as did their income. Single mothers' own-cash income rose 21% overall, and rose by similar margins even in the most disadvantaged demographic groups. The report also found that single mothers' earnings rise significantly over time as long as they remain in the workforce.