Unlike monthly jobs numbers, poverty numbers come out only once a year—and they’ll be rolling out on Tuesday. That means this is the time to talk about the 46.2 million living in poverty. And you can’t talk about poverty without talking about welfare, officially known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
It may come as a surprise, but TANF was never intended to be a comprehensive anti-poverty program. It was designed to be a temporary leg up, but its mission varies greatly from state to state.
Here are a few other facts that may surprise you:
Illustration by Tim Meko,