Which Race is the Heaviest Burden on Welfare?

Any new release of government’s demographic and welfare statistics triggers heated debates of analytics, hose interpretation usually supports their ideological platform. But few, if any, made an attempt to scrutinize statistics for its validity, and then present the finding in an objective manner. To shed the light on reality of American welfare system, I took the most widely publicised data by Statistic Brain Research Institute and re-arranged it for clarity in Table1. (http://www.statisticbrain.com/welfare-statistics). It shows the total recipients of subsistence in its various forms, and percentage of each ethnical group in the total.

Table 1. Government Welfare Statistics

Recipients Population receiving Percent
Total number of Americans on welfare 110,489,000 35.4 (in total population)
Whites 38.8
Blacks 39.8
Hispanic 15.7
Asian 2.4
Other 3.3

I left the ethnic number of people cells empty on purpose. As there is none in the institute’s table, I calculated it in accordance to the given percentage, and presented the results in the Table2.

Table 2. Calculated numbers of welfare recipients by ethnicity

Recipients Population Percent
Total number of Americans on welfare 110,489,000 35.4 (in total Population)
Whites 42,869,732 38.8
Blacks 43,974,622 39.8
Hispanic 17,346,773 15.7
Asian 2,651,736 2.4
Other 3,646,137 3.3

If the government’s – and Statistic Brain Research Institute – data is correct, then the total population in this period was 110,489,000/35.4 x 100 = 312,115,819.

Instead of taking published statistical data of total population in the US, I calculated it using the numbers in the report, in order to avoid to much discrepancy. It does not affect the actual results and conclusions, as the calculated data is very close to various official sources.

That is so far as ethnical percentage in the total welfare recipients is concerned. In the table 3 the percentage of ethnical groups in total population is presented.

Table3. Percentage of race in total population

Race Number Percent
White -Non-Hispanic 62.6
Blacks 13.2
Hispanic and Latino 17.1
Asian American 4.4
Two or more 2.3
Other 0.4

Again, I left the column “Number” empty on purpose. Taking the above calculated total population number, I calculated number of ethnical people in the total population, and presented it in Table 4.

Table 4. Calculated racial population (from total 312,115,819)

Race Number Percent
White -Non-Hispanic 195,384,503 62.6
Blacks 41,199,288 13.2
Hispanic and Latino 53,371,805 17.1
Asian American 13,733,096 4.4
Two or more 7,178,664 2.3
Other 1,248,463 0.4

Now, compare the total number of welfare recipients with the total population of each race. The picture in the Table 5 may surprise a sober mind.

Table 5. Number of welfare recipients vs. total group population

Recipients Welfare recipients Race population
Whites 42,869,732 195,384,503
Blacks 43,974,622 41,199,288
Hispanic 17,346,773 53,371,805
Asian 2,651,736 13,733,096

I excluded other groups, to avoid explanations on some statistical discrepancies, and to enhance the clarity of presentation.

In this table, the most puzzling data is on Blacks. The number of black welfare recipients is 43,974,622. The total number of blacks in America is 41,199,288. It meand that the number of black welfare recipients is greater than the total population of blacks in America!

Well, perhaps some know how to explain it, but as it stands now I take this data for further considerations. Table 6 shows percentage of welfare recipients in each group total population.

Table 6. Welfare recipients and race population

Recipients Welfare recipients Race population % in ethnical group
Whites 42,869,732 195,384,503 21.9
Blacks 43,974,622 41,199,288 106.7
Hispanic 17,346,773 53,371,805 32.5
Asian 2,651,736 13,733,096 19.3

There is an obvious error either in percentage of black recipients, or the total number of recipients. But aside from it, contemporary debates often evolve around racial issues: which race is the heaviest burden?

I believe that this kind of thinking is not productive. Whatever racial percentage is, there is no explanation, plausible or not, could lead to a solution of the welfare expansion. There are two primary reasons – among others – why the number of welfare recipients grew from none in 1940 to one-third of the total population in 2014.

Many, not familiar with detailed welfare statistics believe that all welfare recipients are those who do not work and have no intention to work. Social parasites, so to speak. In fact, most of the able adult welfare recipients do work. Their wages are simply too small to support a family, or even a single individual. The other welfare groups include children and elderly. The elderly category grew in numbers unprecedented in the history of humanity. But still, it does not explain why welfare assistance grew from almost nothing in 1940s to $130 billion in 2014.

There are a few obvious causes. One is, that wages of unskilled people are very low. As this category of workforce now in abundance in America, the law of supply and demand drives the cost of this labour down to such level that government subsidy is a mast to support them.

The fertility rate of poor population is far greater than that of the middle class of America, which is 1.86. This is much below the required 2.16 rate of replacement.

Another cause is massive immigration, which consists mostly of the poor with no skills adequate for modern technological society. These people further increase the number of welfare recipients just because they increase the number of unskilled workers at the job market.

One may ask, why the category of poor people should grow if America is the country of equal opportunity for all?

You do not have to be a professor of social science to know that it is hard to break away from the poverty for those who was born into poor families. The trend is obvious and irreversible: the middle class is diminishing, and the poverty category is increasing due to immigration and higher fertility rate. The society has no choice but to tax diminishing high earners category in order to support those who are not able to earn enough. Pointing fingers at racial groups won’t resolve the problem. To find the solution is a much more sophisticated task. However, some politician opted to be politically correct, rather then identify the problems and resolve them in businesslike, not politically correct, manner.


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One Response to Which Race is the Heaviest Burden on Welfare?

  1. Angie says:

    Thank you!! I just ran this data as well and came up with the same thing. I can’t find the original report, so I have no clue where they are getting their numbers. Coincidentally, I also can not find not find ANY data on 2013 or 2014 welfare demographics by race. I can find SNAP and TANF reports that analyze recipients monthly usage, but not one report that gives the demographics for welfare, as a whole, by race. Very interesting.

    It would be nice if sources would use actual data and not made up numbers, especially those that are claiming to be government departments. It’s so sad watching statistics being used for an agenda. There should be a law, I tell ya 🙂

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