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In work program for cash assistance

Codes and Frequencies

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WORKFARE indicates whether persons participated in a work experience program, such as a community service job, in order to receive cash assistance during the previous calendar year.

This inquiry was one of a series of questions related to "new welfare reform." The series began by asking whether, during the previous year, "did (you/anyone in this household) receive any of the following types of assistance from a state or county welfare agency or case manager?" In addition to WORKFARE, variables in this group dealt with transportation assistance to get to work or school or training (TRANSAID), child care services or assistance so the individual could go to work or school or training (KIDCARE), GED classes or training to prepare for the GED exam or to improve basic reading or math skills (GEDTRAIN), job readiness training to learn about resume writing, job interviewing, or building self-esteem (JOBREADY), job search programs, job clubs, and job resource centers to find out about jobs, schedule job interviews, or fill out applications (JOBCLUB), and job training to learn a specific job skill (JOBTRAIN).

The new welfare reform was initiated by the Welfare Reform Law that took effect July 1, 1997. This law created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) programs. TANF, which is overseen by the Office of Family Assistance in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides assistance and work opportunities to needy families by granting states the federal funds and flexibility to develop and implement their own welfare programs.

The data do not entirely conform to the universe specified above; empirically, the "in universe" cases did not necessarily report income from welfare or have family income below a clear cutoff. The IPUMS-CPS staff would appreciate clarification of the variable universe from informed users.


This variable is comparable over time.


  • Persons age 15 to 64 who received assistance from a state or county welfare agency during the previous calendar year.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2001 – 2009 - - X - - - - - - - - -



Unharmonized Variables