Since peaking above 11 percent in the early 1990s, annual caseload growth has moderated to 2.5 percent in 1994-95, and caseloads have actually been declining since April 1995.
The downturn in welfare caseloads is due to several factors, including lower birth rates for young women, an improving economy with lower unemployment, and a decline in legal immigration to California.
The dependency rate is the number of AFDC (Family Group) cases per 10,000 women age 15 through 44. Thus, the graph "controls" for the effect of population changes on the caseload.
The dependency rate remained constant between 1985-86 and 1988-89, suggesting that population increase (women of childbearing age) was the dominant factor in explaining caseload growth during this period.
The dependency rate increased sharply in the early 1990s, suggesting that societal changes (for example, changes in the number of unwed mothers) have played a more important role in determining welfare caseloads. More recently, the dependency rate has moderated and is projected to decline in 1995-96.
Of the ten largest states, California provided the highest maximum AFDC grant as of January 1995. Amounts shown are for a family of three under the program's family group component -- generally single parents with children -- which includes most recipients.
AFDC recipients also receive federal food stamp benefits, which decline as the grant amount increases.
For 1995-96, the California Legislature reduced grants by 4.9 percent on a statewide basis and by an additional 4.9 percent in 41 low-cost counties. (Data on 1995-96 grant levels in other states were not available at the time this report was published.)
Foster care caseloads have increased from about 33,000 in June 1984 to 90,000 in June 1995, representing a 170 percent increase. The average annual increase was 10 percent.
The sharp increase during the late 1980s and the slowdown since 1991 correspond to trends in the number of reports of child abuse/neglect received during the same period. The reduced caseload growth since 1991 also may be partly due to an increase in the counties' share of AFDC-Foster Care costs, which gave counties a greater incentive to contain expenditures.
The proportion of children placed in group homes was about 12 percent in June 1984 and 15 percent in June 1995.
For 1995-96, the California Legislature reduced grants by 4.9 percent on a statewide basis and by an additional 4.9 percent in 41 low-cost counties. Federal legislation is required to implement these reductions.
In the low-cost counties, California's SSI/SSP grant levels are 2 percent larger for individuals and 26 percent higher for couples than those in the state with the second highest grants (New York).
Of the ten largest states, five do not provide a standard state supplemental grant. In those states eligible persons receive only the federal SSI amount of $458 for individuals and $687 for couples.
Currently, the Medi-Cal program serves a significantly higher proportion of California's population than was the case at any point in the 1980s.
Medi-Cal caseloads grew rapidly in the early 1990s, due, in part, to federal and state decisions to expand Medi-Cal coverage to "nontraditional" eligibles -- primarily newly legalized and undocumented persons, children, and pregnant women -- but the overall growth rate began to slow down in 1994-95.
About one in six Californians, or 5.5 million persons, will be eligible for Medi-Cal in 1995-96.
Californians continue to drive more each year, yet they are not using correspondingly more gasoline and other motor fuels because vehicles are more fuel efficient.
Taxes on gasoline and other motor fuels are the major source of revenue for highway construction and maintenance, and for mass transit. With fuel use flat, increasing funds for transportation has required increasing the tax rate per gallon of fuel.
In spite of the Proposition 111 increase in state fuel taxes (beginning in 1990), state funds have contributed relatively little to the growth in highway capital outlay expenditures. Most growth has come from federal funds and other funds (primarily locally generated revenues).
Some projects that are entirely funded by local revenues are not included in Caltrans' capital outlay expenditure data. Therefore, local contributions to capital outlay on the state highway system are actually greater than shown.
General Fund support for state park operations has declined sharply since 1989-90 and has been replaced by support from various special funds. These include the Motor Vehicle Fuel Account, the Off-Highway Vehicle Fund, the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund, and the California Beverage Container Recycling Fund.
Park fee revenues fluctuate, but have remained relatively stable.
Projected 1995-96 visitor-days is below the 1986-87 level. The Department of Parks and Recreation attributed reduced visitor-days to weather and the recession.
Statewide emissions of carbon monoxide and pollutants that create ozone (smog) have declined since 1975, despite a 50 percent increase in population and related increases in the number of vehicles and vehicle miles traveled. Such reductions are mainly due to increasingly stringent controls on motor vehicle emissions.
Statewide emissions of small particulate matter have increased steadily since 1975, reflecting continual increases in road dust emissions from vehicles.
Despite progress made in reducing emissions, most of the state currently fails to meet the state's air quality standard for ozone-creating pollutants.