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U.S. Mothers' Pension Records: 1911-1930

Resource Type
  • Eli, Shari
  • Aizer, Anna (Brown University)
  • Ferrie, Joseph (Northwestern University)
  • Lleras-Muney, Adriana (University of California-Los Angeles)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Institutes of Health
Free Keywords
demography; welfare legislation; poverty; economic history; health behavior; education; inequality; child welfare
  • Abstract

    The Mothers' Pension Program was a needs-based program, established on a state-by-state basis between 1911 and 1931. The first state to pass the program was Illinois in 1911, and by 1931, all but four states had passed a program to aid mothers with dependent children. Mothers in need of pensions applied for them at the county-level. At present, 80,000 individual case files have been collected. For some states, the full universe of counties that provided MP benefits have been collected if found, while for others only a subset of counties have been found—but if a county has records, the universe of records has been collected by the researchers of the Mothers' Pension Project. For an historical account of the Mothers' Pension program in each state, see the Mothers' Pension Project Website here: Records have been collected for the following 14 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin. In some states, all or nearly all records are no longer extant due to short retention schedules set by states or privacy restrictions.

    The records contained in this extract pertain to those used in the folllowing article: A. Aizer, S. Eli, J. Ferrie, A. Lleras-Muney (2015). "The Long-Run Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families." American Economic Review, April 2016.

Temporal Coverage
  • 1911-01-01 / 1935-01-01
    Time period: Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1911--Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1935
Geographic Coverage
  • US
Funding insitution(s): National Institutes of Health (R01 HD077227-01A1).
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.

Update Metadata: 2016-08-28 | Issue Number: 5 | Registration Date: 2016-08-12

Eli, Shari; Aizer, Anna; Ferrie, Joseph; Lleras-Muney, Adriana (2016): U.S. Mothers' Pension Records: 1911-1930. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.