November 2, 2009


New York, NY — A new study from a recent issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family shows that women who exit welfare (under TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), are as likely to marry as women of similar socioeconomic backgrounds who were never on welfare. Marriage rates are lower while women receive TANF, but since most women receive welfare benefits for a short period of time, the overall effect of welfare participation on marriage rates is very small.

The authors suggest that the temporary disincentive to marry while receiving welfare could be reduced by offering a grace period for newly married couples during which time the earnings of spouses would not affect their eligibility for benefits. In addition to proving new information about the effects of welfare participation on marriage, the research sheds light upon and discounts long-standing debates within welfare policy about the effect of a “culture of poverty” on family values. The researchers observed over 3,000 women over a five year period.

This study is published in the November 2009 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.  Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact scholarlynews@wiley.com.

To view an abstract of this article please click here.

Dr. Julien Teitler specializes in the research of the effects of social policy on family structure and health and serves as Chair of the Social Work Doctoral Program at the School of Social Work at Columbia University. To interview Dr. Teitler, please contact Jeannie Hii via email or 212-851-2327.

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About the Journal: For more than 70 years, the Journal of Marriage and Family (JMF) has been a leading research journal in the family field. JMF features original research and theory, research interpretation and reviews, and critical discussion concerning all aspects of marriage, other forms of close relationships, and families.

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