The Geography of Welfare Reform: The Effects of a Federal Funding Freeze and Immigrant Ineligibility
Jul 01, 1995
Beverly Burr

This policy paper provides an analysis of the inter-state and inter-metropolitan effects of proposals to convert federal welfare funding from a formulaic to a fixed state payment, and to render ineligible for public assistance legal immigrants.

The author demonstrates that freezing the inter-state distribution of welfare spending locks in a system in which taxpayers in high cost-of-living states spend disproportionately more than those in low cost-of-living states to support poor Americans. The author draws inter-state comparisons in the normalized distribution of federal poverty relief dollars under the five major federal programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, food stamps, and housing assistance.

Through empirical analysis of administrative and census records, the author demonstrates the geographic distribution of local income effects of the proposed withdrawal of public assistance from the immigrant population.