Change Indicator

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - Population (birth to 18) by age group in Pennsylvania

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - Population (birth to 18) by age group

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Why This Indicator Matters

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides states and territories with federal grants designed to help families with children achieve greater self-sufficiency by offering cash assistance as well as a wide range of services.[1] TANF provides cash assistance to help pregnant women, dependent children and their parents who live with them, or dependent children and other relatives who live with and care for them. The main purposes of TANF are to ensure children have the resources needed to be cared for in their own homes, end the dependency of needy parents on government benefits, prevent pregnancies among unmarried individuals, and reduce the instability of single-parenthood.[2] These objectives are met by providing financial assistance, teaching job preparation skills, promoting marriage, and encouraging the formation of two-parent families. To be eligible for TANF in Pennsylvania, applicants must need support and care for a child they live with as a result of at least one of the following: death of the child’s parent, incapacity of the child’s parent (such as a long illness), continued absence of a parent, or one or both parents with no income or low income from employment.[3] Applicants must also be U.S. citizens, actively looking for employment or part of a job training program, and have resources with a total value of $1000 or less.

Cash assistance programs like TANF have been found to play a critical role in supporting disadvantaged families. In fact, research suggests that “income supports help families in poverty maintain stability and promote children’s healthy development.”[4] Despite the positive outcomes associated with TANF, however, Pennsylvania has not increased cash grants in more than 30 years to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living.[5] The number and proportion of families receiving TANF assistance in Pennsylvania is also declining, indicating the state’s overall disinvestment in improving conditions for those living in poverty.

[1] Administration for Children & Families, Office of Family Assistance. (2022). Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). United States Department of Health & Human Services.

[2] United States Department of Health & Human Services. (2022). What is TANF?

[3] Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. (2022). Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Moving to Independence.

[4] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2022). Policy Basics: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

[5] Drexel University, Center for Hunger-Free Communities. (2020). Pennsylvania Cash Assistance Behind the Times: Steady Decline of TANF Cash Grants and Impact on Families.


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Definition and Source



The number of children receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance by age.

Data Source

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Income Maintenance, Bureau of Program Support


LNE = Low Number Event.  Statistics (rates, ratios, percents) are not calculated and displayed for counts less than 10 (or less than 3 for Bayesian/Nearest Neighbor rates).

Last Updated

December 2023