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The Biggest US Welfare States

The Biggest US Welfare States

As the recession grinds on and people run out of unemployment benefits, the last safety net is the government's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Though benefits vary by state, TANF provides a maximum of 60 months of coverage throughout a recipient's lifetime.To get an idea of which states pay out the most welfare checks, the (NCSL) surveyed state governments. Using the most current information, NCSL then compared the total number of recipients of TANF to the overall state
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

As the recession grinds on and people run out of unemployment benefits, the last safety net is the government's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Though benefits vary by state, TANF provides a maximum of 60 months of coverage throughout a recipient's lifetime.

To get an idea of which states pay out the most welfare checks, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) surveyed state governments. Using the most current information, NCSL then compared the total number of recipients of TANF to the overall state populations (through June 2009).

So, what are the biggest US welfare states? Click ahead to find out!

By Paul ToscanoPosted 21 July 2009

15. Oregon

% of pop. on assistance: 1.55%2007 spending: $83.85 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 58,831% Change in past 12 months: +27.2%Unemployment (May 2009): 12.4%Pictured: Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski
Photo: TedForGov.com

% of pop. on assistance: 1.55%
2007 spending: $83.85 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 58,831
% Change in past 12 months: +27.2%
Unemployment (May 2009): 12.4%

Pictured: Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski

14. Pennsylvania

% of pop. on assistance: 1.60%2007 spending: $247.29 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 198,666% Change in past 12 months: -1.7%Unemployment (May 2009): 8.2%Pictured: Pennsylvania Capital Building
Photo: Kevin Long (Flickr)

% of pop. on assistance: 1.60%
2007 spending: $247.29 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 198,666
% Change in past 12 months: -1.7%
Unemployment (May 2009): 8.2%

Pictured: Pennsylvania Capital Building

13. Michigan

% of pop. on assistance: 1.65%2007 spending: $380.93 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 164,589% Change in past 12 months: -4.8%Unemployment (May 2009): 14.1%Pictured: 2007/9/27 Jennifer Granholm, as Governor of Michigan, prepares to give an address about the state budget.
Photo: AP

% of pop. on assistance: 1.65%
2007 spending: $380.93 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 164,589
% Change in past 12 months: -4.8%
Unemployment (May 2009): 14.1%

Pictured: 2007/9/27 Jennifer Granholm, as Governor of Michigan, prepares to give an address about the state budget.

12. Rhode Island

% of pop. on assistance: 1.79%2007 spending: $57.4 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 18,839% Change in past 12 months: N/AUnemployment (May 2009): 12.1%Pictured: Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri
Photo: AP

% of pop. on assistance: 1.79%
2007 spending: $57.4 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 18,839
% Change in past 12 months: N/A
Unemployment (May 2009): 12.1%

Pictured: Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri

Tie-10. Indiana

% of pop. on assistance: 1.83%2007 spending: $102.27 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 116,430% Change in past 12 months: -5.3%Unemployment (May 2009): 10.6%Pictured: Indiana State House
Photo: RogerD (WikiMediaCommons)

% of pop. on assistance: 1.83%
2007 spending: $102.27 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 116,430
% Change in past 12 months: -5.3%
Unemployment (May 2009): 10.6%

Pictured: Indiana State House

Tie-10. New Mexico

% of pop. on assistance: 1.83%2007 spending: $58.87 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 36,322% Change in past 12 months: +20%Unemployment (May 2009): 6.5%Pictured: 2007/6/3 - Bill Richardson, as New Mexico Governor and Democratic presidential candidate, during debate at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, New Hampshire
Photo: AP

% of pop. on assistance: 1.83%
2007 spending: $58.87 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 36,322
% Change in past 12 months: +20%
Unemployment (May 2009): 6.5%

Pictured: 2007/6/3 - Bill Richardson, as New Mexico Governor and Democratic presidential candidate, during debate at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, New Hampshire

9. Washington

% of pop. on assistance: 1.86%2007 spending: $265.88 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 121,864% Change in past 12 months: 18.4%Unemployment (May 2009): 9.4%Pictured: Washington State Capitol
Photo: AP

% of pop. on assistance: 1.86%
2007 spending: $265.88 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 121,864
% Change in past 12 months: 18.4%
Unemployment (May 2009): 9.4%

Pictured: Washington State Capitol

8. Minnesota

% of pop. on assistance: 1.88%2007 spending: $106.29 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 98,028% Change in past 12 months: 5.9%Unemployment (May 2009): 8.2%Pictured: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
Photo: AP

% of pop. on assistance: 1.88%
2007 spending: $106.29 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 98,028
% Change in past 12 months: 5.9%
Unemployment (May 2009): 8.2%

Pictured: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

7. New York

% of pop. on assistance: 1.92%2007 spending: $1.47 billionTotal recipients (July 2008): 373,305% Change in past 12 months: 1.2%Unemployment (May 2009): 8.2%Pictured: New York State Capitol, Albany
Photo: Wadester16 (WikiMediaCommons)

% of pop. on assistance: 1.92%
2007 spending: $1.47 billion
Total recipients (July 2008): 373,305
% Change in past 12 months: 1.2%
Unemployment (May 2009): 8.2%

Pictured: New York State Capitol, Albany

6. District of Columbia

% of pop. on assistance: 1.99%2007 spending: $18.67 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 11,806% Change in past 12 months: -6.3%Unemployment (May 2009): 10.7%Pictured: United States Capitol Building
Photo: AP

% of pop. on assistance: 1.99%
2007 spending: $18.67 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 11,806
% Change in past 12 months: -6.3%
Unemployment (May 2009): 10.7%

Pictured: United States Capitol Building

5. Vermont

% of pop. on assistance: 2.02%2007 spending: $30.92 milliionTotal recipients (July 2008): 12,543% Change in past 12 months: 7.3%Unemployment (May 2009): 7.3%Pictured: Vermont State Capitol
Photo: Skeezix1000 (WikiMediaCommons)

% of pop. on assistance: 2.02%
2007 spending: $30.92 milliion
Total recipients (July 2008): 12,543
% Change in past 12 months: 7.3%
Unemployment (May 2009): 7.3%

Pictured: Vermont State Capitol

4. Massachusetts

% of pop. on assistance: 2.09%2007 spending: $295.29 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 136,033% Change in past 12 months: 5.4%Unemployment (May 2009): 8.2%Pictured: Massachusetts State House 
Photo: Daderot (WikiMediaCommons)

% of pop. on assistance: 2.09%
2007 spending: $295.29 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 136,033
% Change in past 12 months: 5.4%
Unemployment (May 2009): 8.2%

Pictured: Massachusetts State House

3. Tennessee

% of pop. on assistance: 2.15%2007 spending:  $91.28 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 133,505% Change in past 12 months: 5.7%Unemployment (May 2009): 10.7%Pictured: Tennessee State Capitol
Photo: Ichabod (WikiMediaCommons)

% of pop. on assistance: 2.15%
2007 spending: $91.28 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 133,505
% Change in past 12 months: 5.7%
Unemployment (May 2009): 10.7%

Pictured: Tennessee State Capitol

2. Maine

% of pop. on assistance: 2.37%2007 spending: $61.73 millionTotal recipients (July 2008): 31,148% Change in past 12 months: 5.3%Unemployment (May 2009): 8.3%Pictured: Augusta, Maine
Photo: Terry Ross (Flickr)

% of pop. on assistance: 2.37%
2007 spending: $61.73 million
Total recipients (July 2008): 31,148
% Change in past 12 months: 5.3%
Unemployment (May 2009): 8.3%

Pictured: Augusta, Maine

1. California

% of pop. on assistance: 3.30%2007 spending: $3.28 billionTotal recipients (July 2008): 1,212,893% Change in past 12 months: 10.4%Unemployment (May 2009): 11.5%Pictured: Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor
Photo: AP

% of pop. on assistance: 3.30%
2007 spending: $3.28 billion
Total recipients (July 2008): 1,212,893
% Change in past 12 months: 10.4%
Unemployment (May 2009): 11.5%

Pictured: Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor