TitleFragile Families in the American Welfare State.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsGarfinkel, I, Zilanawala, A
JournalChild Youth Serv Rev
Date Published08/2015

The proportion of children born out of wedlock is now over 40 percent. At birth, about half of these parents are co-habiting. This paper examines data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study (N = ) to describe for the first time the role of welfare state benefits in the economic lives of married, cohabiting, and single parent families with young children. Surprisingly, total welfare state benefits received by the three family types are relatively similar. Nearly half of the full incomes of fragile families come from welfare state transfers. For single parent families the proportion is slightly more than two thirds. Though aggregate welfare state transfers are approximately equal across family type and thus change very little as marital status changes, these transfers and the taxes required to finance them cushion family status changes and substantially narrow the gap in full income between married and fragile families.

Alternate JournalChild Youth Serv Rev
PubMed ID27114616
PubMed Central IDPMC4840892
Grant ListR01 HD039135 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD036916 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
P2C HD058486 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD040421 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R24 HD058486 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States