ERIC Number: ED480650
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Oct
Public Attitudes toward Low-Income Families and Children: Circumstances Dictate Public Views of Government Assistance. Research Report.
Lennon, Mary Clare; Appelbaum, Lauren D.; Aber, J. Lawrence; McCaskie, Katherine
This study examined public attitudes toward the most vulnerable of the poor--those who experience significant personal or situational problems that can create obstacles to employment. Using both a factorial survey methodology and a general attitude survey, researchers gathered information about public opinion toward people in need, low-income working families, welfare recipients, and welfare reform from a nation-wide sample of 1,570 adults. The factorial survey design involved a vignette featuring a female subject whose description randomly varied 11 characteristics including race, marriage status, whether she had obstacles to employment, and whether she worked or received welfare. Based on responses, the study extrapolated four key findings. The first is that support for many forms of assistance is similar regardless of whether a woman who faces economic difficulties is receiving welfare or is employed. There were high levels of support for health insurance and educational assistance, regardless of work status or type of barrier. Support for cash assistance, psychological counseling, job training, health insurance, and educational assistance were at least as strong for a woman who was on welfare as when she was employed. The second finding, however, is that support for cash assistance was generally low. When there was no barrier to employment, just 39 percent of Americans supported cash assistance. The highest level of support for cash assistance was found for women living in an area with high unemployment (54 percent), who had physical disabilities (49 percent), or had mental illness (49 percent). Tax relief was also endorsed less often overall than most other forms of assistance. Without a barrier to employment, support for tax relief was 57 percent. That support increased for women living in an area with high unemployment. The fourth finding was that support for job training was generally high. When women are not working, 87 percent of the public supports job training. (Author/HTH)
Descriptors: Children, Employment, Low Income, Poverty, Social Attitudes, Unemployment, Welfare Recipients, Welfare Services
National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 215 W. 125th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10027-4426. Tel: 646-284-9600; Fax: 646-284-9623; Web site: http://www.nccp.org. For full text: http://www.nccp.org/media/pat03a-text.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. National Center for Children in Poverty.