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Eureka! RI is NOT a welfare magnet

It's become somewhat of an article of faith for a surprising number of people that Rhode Island is a welfare magnet. This kind of thinking helped to propel last year's state tax cut for the affluent, and it animates a considerable amount of discussion on talk-radio and elsewhere. Well, guess what? Brian C. Jones makes the case that Rhode Island is not a welfare magnet.

Here's the money shot:

The problem is that, like Nessie and Bigfoot, the Welfare Interloper appears to be just another tall tale.  In fact, Rhode Island may be an exporter of welfare recipients.
 
More welfare families leave Rhode Island than come here, according to the Department of Human services, the state’s welfare agency.
 
“Since 2001, Rhode Island has had a net out-migration of families moving to the other states,” the department says in its 2005 annual report on the Family Independence Program — as the welfare program here is called.
 
The department says, further, that during 2005, 9.5 percent of new families who qualified for the Rhode Island FIP program had moved here from other states. That compares to the 17 percent of new families coming from other states in 1996.
 
In Rhode Island, as elsewhere, there are far fewer families of any origin on welfare, about 12,000 in 2005, compared to 18,800 in 1997, according to DHS figures.
 
DHS reports that in 79 percent of the households, English is the primary language. Also, that 38 percent are white, 29 percent of families are Hispanic, and 15 percent black.

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