- Post 06 June 2012
- By Copy Editor
How many Americans depend on a government program for a basic (or not so basic) need? According to recently released Census Bureau data and Heritage Foundation calculations, the number is 128.8 million. That is the number of individuals directly receiving aid that they depend on for their daily consumption of things such as rent, prescription drugs, and higher education.
That is 41.3 percent of theU.S.population as of July 2011.
The Wall Street Journal puts the number of people living in a household where at least one member receives help at an even higher 49.1 percent.
The 41.3 percent number is surely undercounting. It is based on survey responses to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) of March 2011. These responses are well known to undercount the number of people receiving Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, State Children’s Health Insurance, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Heritage research shows that the undercount in higher education subsidies may be the most dramatic.
The calculations that Heritage ran on the Census Bureau data do not, however, double-count individuals. So if someone receives Medicare and Social Security, he is counted only once. Therefore, the dramatic undercounting in higher education subsidy beneficiaries makes the biggest difference, because recipients of education subsidies are generally younger and not likely to be on other dependency-creating programs. ...continues