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Spacial Isolation and Welfare Recipients: What Do We Know?

  • Author(s): O'Regan, Katherine M.
  • Quigley, John M.
  • et al.
Abstract

Most inferences about the spatial isolation of welfare recipients are based upon residence patterns observed among the poor. This paper provides the first systematic examination of the spatial and transport conditions facing female-headed families on public assistance, comparing them with conditions facing the poor and the non poor. The analysis clearly documents wide differences in labor force attachment, job and residence patterns, commute modes and times by race, between the welfare and poverty populations. It also reveals substantial differences in the residence and workplace locations and commute patterns of public assistance households and large differences in access to automobiles. Worktrip mode varies enormously by auto access, and the incidence of very long journeys to work is much higher for those on public assistance. In contrast, a surprisingly large fraction of female welfare recipients walk to work. These data provide a national benchmark for current welfare reform experiences.

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