State and local spending for social welfare programs — including cash assistance, medical assistance, and social services — fell in 2006 after adjusting for inflation and need, for the first time since 1983. Although this decline was due in part to one-time changes in the Medicaid program, the 2006 decline also confirms broader, downward trends in social welfare expenditures since 2002, as well as major shifts in the relationship between state fiscal capacity and social welfare spending.
Thomas Gais and Lucy Dadayan, September 2008
New Findings on the End of Post-Reform Growth in Social Services: Social Welfare Spending by State and Local Governments, 1977-2005[PDF]
A remarkable development in the late 1990s was the growth in state and local spending on noncash social services for low-income families. However, data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of State and Local Government Finances reveal that this expansion in social services stopped after 2002, and that social service spending continued to fall through 2005. Spending on cash assistance also declined, extending a decade-long trend, while medical assistance expenditures grew. The report also shows large differences between comparatively wealthy and poor states in their spending on social services. This report updates an earlier version that presented spending data only through 2004, and it provides state-specific data on spending changes between 1995 and 2005.
Thomas Gais, Suho Bae, and Lucy Dadayan. August 2007
The End of Post-Reform Growth in Social Services: Social Welfare Spending by State and Local Governments, 1977-2004[PDF]
A remarkable development in the late 1990s was the growth in state and local spending on noncash social services for low-income families. As a result, through 2000, most states saw large increases in noncash services, especially in childcare but also in child welfare, employment services, and short-run assistance. However, data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of State and Local Government Finances suggest that this expansion in social services may have stopped. Although firm conclusions cannot be drawn from these data alone, they may augur a scarcity in funding for social services, and a continued shift in the composition of spending on low-income families from nonhealth to health programs, particularly among states with low fiscal capacities.
Thomas Gais, Suho Bae, and Lucy Dadayan, April 2007
Data for 1992, 1998, 2003, and 2004 on state and local government expenditures in major programs designed for children or in which children are the main beneficiaries. The report finds that state and local governments spent $467 billion of their own-source funds on major programs for children in fiscal year 2004. About 9 out of 10 of all dollars spent on children went to K-12 education. The remaining funds supported health programs and a category of expenditures encompassing a variety of nonhealth, noneducation programs (including TANF/AFDC, foster child and other child welfare services, child care, and child support enforcement). The research has been supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Patricia Billen, Donald Boyd, Lucy Dadayan, and Thomas Gais, October 2007
States and their local governments play a crucial role in financing and delivering public services for children. Despite this important role, there is no comprehensive source of information on how much each state spends for children. This study, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, helps fill that gap by developing and analyzing spending data for most major programs that benefit children.
Patricia Billen and Donald Boyd, April 2007