Attitudes of welfare recipients toward marriage and childbearing

Attitudes of welfare recipients toward marriage and childbearing The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) put the need for attitudinal change at the center of efforts to help welfare recipients become economically independent, avoid out-of-wedlock childbearing, and embrace marriage. In this paper, we focus specifically on attitudes, analyzing both differences in values and attitudes between welfare recipients and other women on the cusp of reform, as well as the effects of TANF reforms in two states on the attitudes and behaviors of women subject to the reforms. National data reveal few differences in values and attitudes between welfare recipients and other women once background characteristics are held constant. A majority of both groups believes that prospective parents should marry, but single parents can raise a child as well as married parents. Personal aspirations for marriage and further childbearing also are fairly similar. These similarities may be one reason that the literature has shown TANF to have limited effects on marriage and childbearing. A second set of analyses investigates the degree to which welfare recipients in Delaware and Indiana report that reforms affected their aspirations for marriage and childbearing. Self-reported impacts are greater for fertility than marriage attitudes. Even among those who report their attitudes were affected by reform, recipients appear to have difficulty acting on their marital and childbearing desires, dampening any effects on behavior. These findings reinforce the current sense among researchers and policy makers that more direct reforms are needed to have a substantial effect on marriage and out-of-wedlock childbearing. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Population Research and Policy Review Springer Journals

Attitudes of welfare recipients toward marriage and childbearing

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Geography; Demography; Economic Policy; Population Economics
ISSN
0167-5923
eISSN
1573-7829
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11113-004-3460-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) put the need for attitudinal change at the center of efforts to help welfare recipients become economically independent, avoid out-of-wedlock childbearing, and embrace marriage. In this paper, we focus specifically on attitudes, analyzing both differences in values and attitudes between welfare recipients and other women on the cusp of reform, as well as the effects of TANF reforms in two states on the attitudes and behaviors of women subject to the reforms. National data reveal few differences in values and attitudes between welfare recipients and other women once background characteristics are held constant. A majority of both groups believes that prospective parents should marry, but single parents can raise a child as well as married parents. Personal aspirations for marriage and further childbearing also are fairly similar. These similarities may be one reason that the literature has shown TANF to have limited effects on marriage and childbearing. A second set of analyses investigates the degree to which welfare recipients in Delaware and Indiana report that reforms affected their aspirations for marriage and childbearing. Self-reported impacts are greater for fertility than marriage attitudes. Even among those who report their attitudes were affected by reform, recipients appear to have difficulty acting on their marital and childbearing desires, dampening any effects on behavior. These findings reinforce the current sense among researchers and policy makers that more direct reforms are needed to have a substantial effect on marriage and out-of-wedlock childbearing.

Journal

Population Research and Policy ReviewSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 5, 2004

References

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