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Number of months received welfare income


MTHWELFR is a 2-digit numeric code.


MTHWELFR reports the number of months during the previous calendar year that respondents received public assistance or welfare payments from the state or local welfare office.


This variable is largely comparable over time, but the wording of the question was not entirely consistent. Beginning in 1994, interviewers specified that such payments should include AFDC, ADC, General Assistance, Emergency Assistance, Cuban/Haitian Refugee Assistance, and Indian Assistance, and that Food Stamps and SSI payments should not be included; beginning in 1998, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) was mentioned rather than the AFDC program (which TANF replaced).

For 1988-1994, respondents were asked the number of months they received such welfare payments. Beginning in 1995, they could report the number of payments in terms of weekly, bi-weekly, twice monthly, or monthly payments. Regardless of the payment schedule reported by respondents, the answers were converted into values from 1 to 12 for MTHWELFR.

Other variables related to welfare income include INCWELFR (amount of welfare income received during the previous calendar year) and SRCWELFR (source of welfare income).


  • Persons age 15+ who received public assistance or welfare payments during the previous calendar year.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1988 – 2018 - - X - - - - - - - - -