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Welfare Dimensions Summary Scores


The Population Research Institute (PRI) is currently evaluating the SODAPOP service. The ability to extract a data set containing a subset of variables will not be supported after September 15, 2016.

The data collections in SODAPOP will still be available from the PRI. If you should have concerns about this change to the SODAPOP service or need to access some of the data, contact the PRI's Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA) core at


PRIde Description: The Measuring State Welfare Policy Variations and Change project developed a methodology and scores to describe state welfare policies adopted after PRWORA. We convert textual TANF welfare guidelines into empirically derived quantitative scores to describe variation and change in welfare policy dimensions across states during the 1996-2003 post-welfare-reform period. Utilizing the Urban Institutes' Welfare Rules Database, we apply a factor analytic methodology to 78 unique state policy guidelines that were coded on a lenient-to-stringent continuum. The analysis identified 15 underlying first-order post-welfare-reform policy dimensions, which for scientific parsimony were further reduced to three second-order underlying dimensions. Lenient-to stringent quantitative scores are available for all first and second-order policy dimensions, for all states and the District of Columbia, and for each year during the 1996-2003 period.

Download WDSS Files

Principal Investigators:

     Gordon F. De Jong, Distinguished Professor of Sociology & Demography and Director, Graduate Program in Demography

     Deborah Roempke Graefe, PRI Research Associate

     Matthew Hall, Graduate Student, Sociology

     Shelley K. Irving, Graduate Student, Sociology

Data Disseminated By: Population Research Institute, The Pennsylvania State University


Bibliographic Citation: De Jong, Gordon. Graefe, Deborah. Hall, Matthew. Irving, Shelley. Welfare Dimensions Summary Scores: 1996-2003 [Computer file]. University Park, Pa.: Population Research Institute, The Pennsylvania State University [producer].

Original Data: Original source information on welfare rules came from the Welfare Rules Database, Copyright (c) 2000, The Urban Institute. The Welfare Rules Database, a product of the Assessing the New Federalism project and supported by the Department of Health and Human Services, is a comprehensive source for details on welfare rules in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Welfare Rules Database contains information on welfare rules in place from 1996 through 2000. The searchable database is available on-line, free-of-charge. We used the Welfare Rules Database to create variables used in this analysis. We accept responsibility for misinterpretations of rules which may have occurred in this process.

Keywords: welfare reform; policy making; state government; immigrant welfare; public assistance programs; TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families); AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children)

Why access the data through SodaPop: This is an original Penn State study and data are only available from the Population Research Institute via SodaPop. 

Related Publications: 

  • De Jong, G.F., D. R. Graefe, S. K. Irving, and T. St. Pierre, 2006. "Measuring State TANF Policy Variations and Change After Reform." _Social Science Quarterly_ 87:755-781. Gordon
  • De Jong, G. F., D. R. Graefe, and T. St.Pierre (2005) "Welfare Reform and the Interstate Migration of Poor Families." _Demography_  42:469-496.
  • De Jong, G. F., D. R. Graefe, S. Irving, and T. St.Pierre (2006) "Measuring State TANF Policy Variations and Change After Reform." _Social Science Quarterly_ 87:755-781.
  • Graefe, D. R., G. F. De Jong, M. Hall, S. Sturgeon, and J. Van Eerden (2008) "Immigrants' TANF Eligibility, 1996-2003: What Explains the New Across-State Inequalities?" _International Migration Review_ 42:89-133.
  • Hall, M. D. R. Graefe, and G. F. De Jong (2010) "Economic Self-Sufficiency of Immigrant Women after RANF Participation: Welfare Eligibility as a Natural Experiment." _Social Science Research_ 39:78-91. Gordon