California is the leader of the pack in offering welfare programs. Approximately 3.30 percent of the population is on assistance. In 2007, the state spent $3.28 billion and helped a total of 1,212,893 people. As the recession wears on, there has been an increase in these payouts of about 10 percent. California also has unemployment of 11.5 percent.
From one end to the other, Maine is at the top of the Northeast in welfare payouts. About 2.37 percent is on assistance. In 2007, $61.73 million was spent to help families and individuals. There were a total of 31,145 recipients of this aid in 2008. That number has increased with a 5.3 percent increase. The unemployment in Maine remains around 8 percent.
In the south, Tennessee is at the top for assistance with 2.15 percent of its population receiving assistance. In 2007, the state spent $91.28 million to support its residents on welfare. In 2008, more than 133,000 people were receiving assistance. There was a 5.7 percent increase in this number since that time. Unemployment in Tennessee remains at about 10 percent.
With just 2.09 percent on assistance, Massachusetts spent $295.29 million in 2007 on assistance benefits. There were a total of 136,033 recipients of this assistance in 2008. There was a 5 percent increase for Massachusetts. The unemployment percentage remains steady at 8 percent.
With 2.02 percent of its population on assistance, Vermont spends over $30 million on assistance benefits. In 2008, 12,543 received these benefits, but that number increased by 7.3 percent over 12 months. Unemployment in Vermont remains lower than most at about 7 percent.
6. District of Columbia
About 1.99 percent of the population in D.C. is on welfare. In 2007, $18.67 million was spent on assistance, and there were a total of 11,806 who received this aid in 2008. Over 12 months, that number actually decreased by 6.3 percent. Unemployment in D.C. remains high at 10 percent.
7. New York
About 1.92 percent of the population is on assistance in New York. The state spent $1.47 billion in 2007 on assistance benefits. Total recipients in 2008 were up to 373,305. That number increased over 12 months to 1.2 percent higher. The state currently has an 8 percent unemployment rating.
With 1.88 percent of the population on assistance, the state of Minnesota spent $106.29 million on assistance in 2007. This aid affected the lives of 98,028 individuals. There was also a 5.9 percent increase in this number over 12 months. The unemployment in this state remains steady at 8 percent.
In the colder Northwest, Washington has 1.86 percent of its population on assistance. The state spent $265.88 million on assistance benefits. In July 2008, 121,864 people were receiving these benefits. That number actually increased by 18.4 percent in 2009. The state's unemployment remains at 9.4 percent.
10. New Mexico
About 1.83 percent of the population is on welfare in New Mexico. The state spent $58.87 million on assistance benefits in 2007. Over 36,000 people received these benefits in 2008, and that number actually increased the most out of the top 10 states with a 20 percent increase. Unemployment in this state remains at around 6 percent.