Drug Use and AFDC Participation: Is There a Connection?
Drug use and welfare are two serious social problems that have received widespread public attention. Recently, it has been suggested that illicit drug use is a major cause of welfare, although there is only anecdotal evidence to support such a claim. This paper provides the first systematic analysis of the issue by examining the relationship between illicit drug use and welfare participation among a nationally representative sample of young adults. The results indicate that past year drug use, predominantly marijuana use, is positively related to future welfare participation for both non-black and black women. The magnitude of the drug effect, however, is modest: if drug use among welfare participants was reduced to the levels of non-participants, welfare participation would decline by approximately one percent.