TANF 2003-2020 in Maine

Change Indicator

Why This Indicator Matters

TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is designed to provide a temporary safety net to poor families. In the past 20 years there have been sweeping changes on both the federal and state level to eligibility. As a result, TANF reaches fewer and fewer families with financial need.
This means that many families lack the income to meet their most basic needs for food & shelter.
It is true that in times that when the economy is good, fewer families will need this basic income support of TANF. Still, most of the reason for the declines in TANF use both in this state and nationally, are due to changes in eligibility, including time limits and work requirements.

What the data shows
From 2010 to 2019, the number of children with TANF has declined from 24,916 to 6,692 or down 73%. During the pandemic of 2020, however, the number rose for the first time since 2010, to 7,217 families, or up 8%.

 On a county level, in 2020, the use of TANF among Maine's children varied between a high of 4.5% in Androscoggin County and 4.2% in Aroostook County to a low of 1.6% in Hancock, Knox and Sagadahoc Counties.
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TANF 2003-2020

Data Provided By

Definitions: The number/percent of children ages 0-17 who were receiving Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) during the time period specified for each year in the notes. State total includes children whose county of residence is unknown.The numerator is the number of children receiving TANF and the denominator is the estimated number of children ages 0 -17 in the county based on most recent estimates from the Maine Office of Vital Statistics.

Data Source: Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Family Independence.

Footnotes:  Data for 2003 through 2020 represent enrollments in December of those years.

Last uploaded March 2021.