Skip navigation
No more
Know more

Think being on welfare is a sweet deal? This chart should set you straight.

Think being on welfare is a sweet deal? This chart should set you straight.

There’s a really pernicious myth out there that the U.S. secretly has a super-generous welfare state. Just this summer, in fact, the Cato Institute was claiming that “welfare” provides some D.C. residents with the equivalent of a $50,820-a-year salary. That study got thoroughly decimated by other analysts, but the myth persists.

So if you somehow get yourself embroiled in a Facebook comment thread flamewar about this, or have to reply to a chain email your grandpa sent along these lines, send along the chart above. A new paper from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that people getting government assistance in the form of Medicaid, Section 8, food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), etc. spend a whole lot less on just about everything than those not getting assistance. Folks on those programs aren’t living high on the hog; they’re scraping by, with a little help from the government.

Click “Know More” to read the full BLS study. Hat-tip goes to Jordan Weissmann.

Dylan Matthews | December 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm
Know more: Spending patterns of families receiving means-tested government assistance
No more
Know more
How statistics can help you find Jeopardy’s Daily Double
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Americans are more sympathetic toward Israel than they’ve been in decades
Ana Swanson
ADVERTISEMENT
No more
Know more
The only time of year when the U.S. box office can be beat
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Every state has snow right now, except for one
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
The Dutch answer a pot-related slight from the D.C. mayor with a passive aggressive infographic
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
200 years of immigration to the U.S., visualized
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
NASA’s touching tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
What do colors really look like to colorblind people?
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
An optical illusion that beats ‘the dress’
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
The college majors with the highest unemployment rates
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
If the planets were fruit
Ana Swanson