What are good sources of information on basic trends in poverty, welfare, and related issues?

Frequently, people who visit IRP's web site would like basic data on trends in welfare caseloads, poverty, and related issues.  We have compiled a list of places where some of these basic data may be found.

General Information

One source of general information on poverty is IRP's list of frequently asked questions, especially our answer to the question "How will we know if welfare reform is successful?"  For more detailed information on specific questions you may want to look at research being conducted at IRP or IRP publications.  You may also wish to search the IRP web site.

If you do not find what you are looking for on the IRP site, it may available from one of the organizations that we have listed in our links to poverty-related resources.

Information on Trends

Trends in poverty

The United States Bureau of the Census has a page that is a good starting point for learning about trends in poverty.

Trends affecting children

Trends in teenage pregnancy

Child Trends, Inc., regularly reports on recent trends in teenage sexual behavior and pregnancy. So too do the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Trends in health care and health insurance

The health of the U.S. population is profiled by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A good place to start is its Fastats section.

Health insurance data for the nation and for particular states can be found at the Census Bureau's health insurance page.

Changes in welfare caseloads

The Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, maintains a page of data and reports on U.S. welfare caseload information.

The Welfare Project of the National Conference of State Legislatures has collected welfare caseload information from state agencies to provide a national picture and analyze state trends.

Trends in particular programs

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Administration for Children and Families provides statistics on state spending under the welfare reform law.

Medicaid and Medicare

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services posts summary statistics for Medicaid, Medicare, and other health care programs on its web site.

Food Stamp utilization

The Food and Nutrition Service of the Department of Agriculture publishes regular program data. The Economic Success Clearinghouse (formerly the Welfare Information Network) includes an extensive list of these and other resources pertinent to the Food Stamp program.


The Economic Policy Institute's datazone has information on unemployment, underemployment, and wages through various dates up to 2007. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor publishes monthly data on unemployment, hours, and earnings in their Economy at a Glance section.


The Census Bureau's Income page contains extensive national and state data on income trends. Also visit the Poverty and Income web page of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for recent research and publications on income trends.

Changes in the consumer price index and inflation

IRP has a page with general information on the consumer price index that also contains links to more detailed information on the consumer price index that can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and to a CPI calculator that can be used to inflate and deflate prices from year to year.

Note: If you find that any of the links from this page are no longer valid or do not contain the appropriate information, please e-mail us at irpweb@ssc.wisc.edu.  Also, please let us know if you have suggestions for other links that we can add to this page.