Immigration and Welfare, 1970-1990
This paper uses the 1970, 1980, and 1990 Public Use Samples of the U.S. Census to trace the evolution of immigrant participation in welfare programs during the past two decades. The data indicate that immigrant participation in welfare programs is on the rise, and that the dollar costs associated with this trend are rising even faster. By 1990, immigrant households received a disproportionately high share of the cash benefits distributed in the United States. Even though only 8.4 percent of the households are foreign-born, these households accounted for 10.1 percent of all households that received public assistance, and for 13.1 percent of the total cash assistance distributed.