Economically disconnected women, income packaging, low-income families, public cash assistance


Income packaging, or piecing together cash and non-cash resources from a variety of sources, is a common financial survival strategy among low-income women. This strategy is particularly important for economically disconnected women, who lack both employment income and public cash assistance receipt. Using data from the confidential Census Bureau versions of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this study compares the use of public and private supports between disconnected and connected low-income women, controlling for differences in state welfare rules and county unemployment rates. Findings from bivariate comparisons and multilevel logistic regressions indicate that disconnected women utilize public non-cash supports at similar rates to connected women, but rely more heavily on private sources. Conclusions focus on the policy implications for outreach and program development.

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