Governing Delaware: Policy Problems in the First State

By William W. Boyer | Go to book overview

13
Welfare

ACCORDING TO THE 1990 CENSUS, DELAWARE’S PER CAPITA INCOME IN 1989 was $15,854 compared with that of the United States of $14,420. Compared with U.S. households, moreover, there was a lower percentage of Delaware households at lower income levels and a higher percentage at higher levels, as table 8 attests.

As noted in the last chapter, Delaware in 1994 was one of the wealthier states in terms of per capita income (eleventh among the states) and median household income (ninth). More specifically, Delaware was ranked as having in 1994 the fourth-lowest poverty rate (8.3 percent) and the third-lowest percentage of schoolage children living in poverty among the states, while its 1995 unemployment rate (4.7 percent) remained well below the nation’s (5.6 percent). Five years later, in 1999, Governor Carper boasted that Delaware had the strongest economy in the region and one of the strongest economies in the nation, ranked fifth among the states in job creation, had only a 3.1 percent unemployment rate, and had the second-fastest growth nationwide in median family income over the previous two years.1

A recitation of such favorable facts might imply that Delaware through the 1990s did not experience distressing problems related to poverty. However, this is not entirely accurate. Some of these problems and Delaware’s responses to them are discussed in this chapter.


THE INCIDENCE OF POVERTY

As discussed in chapter 1, a 1990 study reported that more than one of every five Delawareans lived in or near poverty and that the percentages of underemployed Delawareans and working poor were highest in the region and exceeded national percentages.2 The gap in income between Delaware’s poor and the more affluent appeared to be rapidly expanding in the 1990s, primarily because the poor remained unqualified in education and skills to fill positions in the state’s expanding services sector, as discussed in the last chapter. Between one-third and one-half

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Governing Delaware: Policy Problems in the First State
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Cultural Studies of Delaware and the Eastern Shore 3
  • Title Page 5
  • Contents 9
  • List of Illustrations 11
  • List of Tables 13
  • Preface 15
  • Introduction- the People and Their Land 21
  • Part I- Political Culture 29
  • 1- The Economy 31
  • 2- Parties and Politics 45
  • 3- The Governor as Leader 56
  • Part II- Governance 71
  • 4- State Government 73
  • 5- Local Government 85
  • 6- Nongovernments 100
  • 7- Public Administration 113
  • 8- Public Finance 124
  • Part III- Public Policy Problems 141
  • 9- Land-Use Planning 143
  • 10- The Environment 160
  • 11- Health 175
  • 12- Public Education 190
  • 13- Welfare 207
  • 14- Crime and Justice 222
  • Conclusion 240
  • Appendix An- Action Agenda 243
  • Notes 251
  • Bibliography 314
  • Index 332
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