Iowans On Welfare

by John Derbyshire

 In a sidebar to the fuss about what Rick Santorum did or did not say about black people who are welfare-dependent, I just looked up the TANF tables to see what Iowa usage looks like. The prompt here was some talking head on Fox News the other night — I forget which one — saying that 90 percent of Iowans on welfare are white.

TANF — Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — is the main federal welfare program, successor to AFDC. The latest table I can find with a race/ethnicity breakdown is for 2007–2008. It shows “percentage distribution of TANF families” in Iowa as Hispanic 6.7 percent, White 58.6 percent, Black 15.9 percent, Unknown 15.6.

The 2010 census shows Iowa’s demographics as Hispanic 5.0 percent, non-Hispanic White 88.7 percent, black 2.9 percent.

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