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Social welfare programs support the income, education, nutrition, and medical care needs of many of this country’s elders and children. Over the past twenty years, however, three times as many children as elders have lived in poverty, and poverty rates for children have consistently exceeded those for the elderly. Given the continued disparity in poverty rates, it is important to track levels of public spending for each group and the generational balance in allocating limited public funds. This Issue Brief evaluates trends in social welfare spending for children and the elderly from 1980 to 2000, and the relationship of national economic trends to public spending patterns.
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Date Posted: 09 December 2016