Posted on October 15, 2019

Race, Welfare, and Media Lies

Peter Bradley, American Renaissance, October 15, 2019

White people are, indeed, a rum lot. Not only are they being displaced by non-whites, their freely-elected government hastens the process by raising their taxes so that yet more non-whites can have illegitimate children who will eat free school lunches and live on food stamps. The end may not yet be in sight, but it is not hard to imagine how it will look. — Marian Evans in the May 1993 issue of American Renaissance

When you talk to leftists about race, it doesn’t take long for them to bring up some variation of “most people on welfare are white.” As we’ll see, this is simply not true. And you don’t even have to delve into the grade-school concept of per capita welfare rates to explain this. In absolute terms, whites are a minority of users. But this doesn’t stop lefties from making claims like this:

  • Rick Newman, a senior columnist for Yahoo Finance wrote in an August 19, 2019 column that, “whites are the largest group of welfare recipients in the United States, while immigrants are far more entrepreneurial than native-born Americans.” The article offers no link to a source.
  • A Newsweek article from January 12, 2018 announces: “In fact, whites are the biggest beneficiaries when it comes to government safety-net programs like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, commonly referred to as welfare.” Again, no source.
  • A June 8, 2018 “Code Switch” segment on NPR featured Rachel Wetts, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, who chirped, “Even though members of all racial and ethnic groups are using these programs, white Americans tend to perceive them as mostly benefiting African-Americans. So, there’s a misperception of who the primary beneficiaries are of these programs.” This article cites figures for only one program, Medicaid, which is the handout that whites collect at the highest rate – though whites are still less than 50 percent of all recipients.
  • A Huffington Post piece from February 2018 was called, “Americans Are Mistaken About Who Gets Welfare.” It quotes Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior analyst with the Center for Law and Social Policy, who claims that “across the programs people overestimate the share of recipients who are black. It’s not surprising because we all know people’s images of public benefits is driven by stereotype.” This article is about who the public thinks is on welfare. It never considers usage rates nor the fact that there are about seven times more whites than blacks in the US.
  • In a February 16, 2017 article, Tracy Jan of the Washington Post claimed, “The biggest beneficiaries of the government safety net: working class whites.”

There are many other examples of either slanted reporting or just plain ignorance, and it’s not just leftists who fall for this stuff. I’ve heard Sean Hannity and Cal Thomas parrot nonsense. National Review flubbed on race and welfare in 2012.

The Department of Health and Human Services doesn’t hide figures on welfare, but the image on the HHS home page, labelled “administration for children and families” shows an unambiguously white family — perhaps for a reason. The urge to ignore the facts appears to be overwhelming. Here are the most recent numbers, which I have compared to 2018 population figures from the U.S. Census.


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is what most people think of when they say “welfare.” It pays cash directly to users. The amount varies by state. In 2018 (the most recent data available), there were over 2.27 million recipients, who got nearly $17 billion. Here’s the racial breakdown (Table 10):

Race  % of Recipients % of Population
White 27.2% 60.4%
Black 28.9% 13.4%
Hispanic 37.8% 18.3%
Asian 1.9% 5.9%
American Indian 1.5% 1.3%
Multiracial 2.1% 2.7%

Whites are clearly an absolute minority of recipients: just 27.2 percent of the total. There are more blacks and Hispanics on welfare than whites. On a per capita basis, blacks are 4.8 times more likely than whites to get TANF, and Hispanics are 4.7 times more likely. Asians are only two-thirds as likely.

Interestingly, over 85 percent of TANF recipients are single or divorced, and only 13 percent are married. Conservatives have long argued that marriage reduces poverty.

Food stamps

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is better known as food stamps. In 2017, a staggering 42.1 million people got free food at a cost of $68 billion dollars. The racial breakdown (page 22):

Race % of Recipients % of Population
White 35.8% 60.4%
Black 25.4% 13.4%
Hispanic 16.5% 18.3%
Asian 3.2% 5.9%
American Indian 1.4% 1.3%
Multiracial 1.0% 2.7%
Unknown/Didn’t Say 16.8% NA

Again, whites are an absolute minority of food stamp users. The 16.8 percent of “race unknown or didn’t say” is high, but they are unlikely to be white. An even bigger story is that 8.2 percent of recipients are children of non-citizens. A further 8.6 percent are refugees or non-citizens. We import food-stamp users.


Medicaid is health insurance for poor people. An incredible 74 million people were on it in 2017 (up from 46 million in 2001). It is paid for by a combination of state and federal funds, and on average it accounts for a crushing 22 percent of state budgets. In 2018, Medicaid cost over $592 billion, and the racial breakdown for users in 2017 was as follows:

Race % of Recipients % of Population
White 41% 60.4%
Black 30% 13.4%
Hispanic 20% 18.3%
Asian 5% 5.4%
American Indian 1% 0.8%
Other 9% NA

Again, whites are an absolute minority, though their percentage of recipients for this expensive program is relatively high.

Section 8 and other public housing

In 2017, there were nearly 5 million households in the US getting housing assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Most of them got Section 8 vouchers or lived in public housing. Blacks are massively over-represented.

Over 1 million people live in public housing. The racial breakdown is as follows:

Race % of Recipients % of Population
White 30% 60.4%
Black 42% 13.4%
Hispanic 23% 18.3%
Asian 2% 5.4%
American Indian 1% 0.8%

The “stereotype” of blacks in public housing is not false. There are more blacks than people of any other race in the projects, and on a per capita basis, they are 6.7 times more likely to be in them than whites.

(Credit Image: © Richard B. Levine/Levine Roberts/Newscom via ZUMA Press)

Most of the other housing programs involve Section 8 vouchers. A category marked “All Relevant Programs,” includes Section 8 and includes 2.8 million recipients. Here is the race breakdown:

Race % of Recipients % of Population
White 29% 60.4%
Black 46% 13.4%
Hispanic 20% 18.3%
Asian 2% 5.4%
American Indian 1% 0.8%

Blacks are 7.1 times more likely than whites to use this benefit and Hispanics are 2.3 times more likely. Asians are only 77 percent as likely.

There are other welfare programs, but these four are the most important and paint a good picture of who is on the dole. American Renaissance has run articles on this since 1993, all of which show the same racial pattern:

Welfare: Who Are You Supporting?

Welfare: Who’s on It, Who’s Not?

Welfare: Who is on it and How it Works

It is clear that blacks and Hispanics take a disproportionate amount of government handouts. Who pays? Nearly half of US households pay no income taxes, but it is hard to get racial breakdowns of who does pay. I have seen several estimates, but none appears to be definitive. Perhaps the most considered estimate is from the blog Alternative Hypothesis, which estimates whites paid more than 75 percent of taxes in 2014.

Racial socialism

Much has been written about millennials who say they prefer socialism to capitalism. Given demographic and political realities, it seems that socialism will only spread. President Trump’s contention that “America will never be a socialist country” is wishful thinking, but it will be racial socialism rather than the Scandinavian variety. Whites (and Asians) will pay higher taxes for programs blacks and Hispanics are more likely to use.

Poor whites do use welfare. But contrary to what the media say, they use it at low rates. There is some evidence whites are more likely to be too proud to take handouts. The Washington Post cites a Mississippi study that found poor whites were twice as likely as poor blacks to forego benefits. It is not inconceivable that at some point there could be affirmative-action welfare, or different, more stringent criteria for whites.

Since 1996, some programs — particularly TANF (which used to be called AFDC) — have shrunk dramatically. This was mainly because of the 1996 welfare bill passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Clinton. Welfare users must now look for work. Is a future Congress full of people who look like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley more likely to expand or limit welfare? (A “Green New Deal” page on AOC’s website initially promised “economic security to all those who are unable or unwilling to work.”) Will a Republican party wiped out demographically be in any position to do anything about it?

A basic flaw in this shakedown scheme is that fewer whites means fewer taxpayers, while a burgeoning black and Hispanic population means more welfare consumers. When the shrinking white middle class complains it is overtaxed, non-white politicians will call their complaints “racist.” The overclass may leave the US or hide its money as they do in the Third World.

Tax slavery to growing numbers of blacks and Hispanics will be part of what awaits whites in an increasingly non-white future. It is just one more reason whites need institutions, communities, and a nation of their own.