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Five percent of U.S. families needed aid during recession

Dec. 1, 2011 at 4:13 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Nearly 5 percent of U.S. families with children received temporary help from a federal welfare program during the recession, the Census Bureau said Thursday.

The percentage of families with children enrolled in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program rose to 4.8 percent in 2009 compared with 3.8 percent in 2006. TANF replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children, which was dropped in 1997.

"The report suggests that the recent economic recession impacted American families with children and that the impact was not just limited to TANF families or poor families," Shelly Irving, a census bureau demographer and author of the report said in a release. "Married-couple families, who have the lowest overall rates of TANF participation, saw an increase in their participation rate from 2006 to 2009."

The report, which only looked at families with children less than 18 years of age, found no significant change in participation rates of male-headed and female-headed families, and no increase in participation rates of poor families.

Children living in families both in and out of the aid program were more likely to have an unemployed parent in the past 12 months in 2009 than in the pre-recession year of 2006. The percentage of families that did not experience unemployment in the past 12 months declined from 66.9 percent in 2006 to 56.6 percent in 2009, and families not enrolled in the program were more likely to receive energy assistance, food stamps and clothing assistance in 2009 than in 2006, the report said.

The number of families surveyed and the sampling error were not given.

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