Priority Populations

Welfare Reform and Health of Immigrant Women and Their Children

In this article, published in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (Volume 9, Number 2, April, 2007), the Foundation’s former Young Scholar, Neeraj Kaushal, and Robert Kaestner investigate the association between the 1996 welfare reform and health insurance, medical care use and health of low-educated, foreign-born, single mothers and their children. They find that welfare reform was associated with an eight to 11.5 percentage points increase in proportion uninsured among low-educated foreign-born, single mothers.

Kaushal and Kaestner also find that the decline in welfare caseload since 1996 was associated with a 6.5 to 10 percentage points increase in the proportion of low-educated foreign-born, single mothers reporting delays in receiving medical care or receiving no care due to cost and a nine percentage points decline in visits to a health professional in the past 12 months. They do not find any consistent evidence that welfare reform affected the health insurance, medical care utilization and health of children living with single mothers.