Policy Documents

No. 119 Welfare Reform after Ten Years: A State-by-State Analysis

Gary MacDougal, Kate Campaigne, Dane Wendell –
June 30, 2008

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Welfare Reform after Ten Years assigns grades to the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on how they implemented the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which gave states unprecedented flexibility in implementing welfare reform.

The six states with the most successful anti-poverty programs are Maryland, Idaho, Illinois, Florida, Virginia, and California. The five with the least success are Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Kansas, Vermont, and Missouri. The states’ overall ranking is an average of two separate analyses -- anti-poverty success and welfare reform policies -- evaluating a total of 12 variables.