In 2009, almost 45 million people, or 18.6 percent of the U.S. population, participated in major means tested assistance programs in each month, on average.
Individuals were more likely to participate in Medicaid than any of the other programs examined in this report, in 2009. Almost 14 percent of individuals participated in Medicaid in an average month in 2009.
Individuals living in poverty in 2009 were more likely to receive at least one type of major means tested benefit than individuals who were not living in poverty. A majority of individuals in poverty (70.7 percent) received benefits in at least one month in 2009 compared with 17.4 percent of those not in poverty.
Individuals living in female householder families were more likely to participate in means-tested
programs in an average month in 2009 (46.3 percent) than were individuals living in married-couple families (12.3 percent) or individuals living in male-householder families (26.5 percent).
Adults (aged 18 and older) who did not graduate from high school were more likely than high school graduates or those with one or more years of college to participate in means-tested programs in an average month in 2009. Participation rates were 33.1 percent, 17.8 percent, and 7.8 percent, respectively, for these groups
Unemployed adults were more likely to receive means-tested benefits in an average month in
2009 than people with full-time jobs (28.3 percent compared with 5.1 percent).
Children under 18 years of age and people aged 65 and older were more likely than people aged 18 to 64 years to receive benefits from at least one means-tested assistance program in all 24 months from January 2004 to December 2005.