Download full text
Download full text
ERIC Number: ED417274
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995
Reference Count: N/A
The Myths of Dependence and Self-Sufficiency: Women, Welfare, and Low-Wage Work.
Edin, Kathryn J.
Focus, v17 n2 p1-9 Fall-Win 1995
The validity of the notion that welfare receipt is equivalent to "dependency" and work represents "self-sufficiency" was examined in a qualitative study during which 214 recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and 165 low-wage single mothers in 4 U.S. cities were interviewed. The women were contacted through grassroots community organizations. Nearly 90% of the women contacted agreed to be interviewed. Three points relevant to the welfare reform debate emerged from the study. First, the notion that welfare use equates to dependency should be tempered by the fact that, in nearly all states, AFDC benefits are so low that recipients must supplement their welfare with unreported work or covert contributions from friends or relatives. Second, the presumption that a transition from welfare to work represents a move toward self-sufficiency or economic well-being ignores the fact that low-wage jobs neither pay enough to remove a family from poverty nor guarantee future access to better-paying jobs. Third, many unskilled or semiskilled single mothers use welfare as one part of a broader strategy to improve their human capital so that they can better compete for those jobs that will permit them to obtain some semblance of economic security. (Contains 23 endnotes.) MN)
Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Employed Women, Employment Level, Employment Patterns, Low Income, Mothers, One Parent Family, Poverty, Public Policy, Qualitative Research, Salary Wage Differentials, Trend Analysis, Welfare Recipients, Welfare Reform
Institute for Research on Poverty, 1180 Observatory Drive, 3412 Social Science Bldg., University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706; phone: 608-262-6358; fax: 608-265-3119.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Inst. for Research on Poverty.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Aid to Families with Dependent Children