What do a Christian overnight camp, abstinence-only sex education, and pro-marriage advertisements have in common? They're all funded through TANF and help to explain racial differences in child poverty in the US. I discuss the evidence at
Temporary Aid to Needy Families gives states wide discretion on how to use the funds. And in states with large populations of black people, lawmakers direct funds away from cash payments and towards programs aimed at an imaginary black pathology.
States spend welfare money on a lot of things that are not direct assistance to families
. States with a higher share of black families is less likely to allocate funds toward cash assistance, but more likely to allocate TANF funds toward efforts to “encourage the formation of two-parent families”
In the US, states get to decide how to spend federal money known as welfare. “The choices states make are unmistakably correlated with race.”
Research by is cited in this piece examining the widening of #racial divide through state #welfare efforts:
The Atlantic: Welfare Money Is Paying for a Lot of Things Besides Welfare. #racism via
This is a must read for understanding the racialization of poverty and what “welfare reform” really means. Great job ! “Through Welfare, States Are Widening the Racial Divide” - The Atlantic
States siphoning off TANF funds for things other than cash assistance to the poorest families is a big problem so I'm super glad wrote this essay and you should definitely read it. *But* I have a bone to pick the framing here.