In his bid for the presidency, Bill Clinton promised to reform welfare. And Congress later would pass such measures.
The 1996 welfare reform law gave control of $16.5 billion in federal spending to states in the form of block grants. The goal of the reforms was to help those who needed public assistance lift themselves out of poverty by giving them some financial support and getting them working.
But two decades later, most states have higher rates of families living in poverty. At the same time, 45 states are spending a smaller percentage of their welfare dollars on basic assistance, which includes cash welfare, child care and work-related assistance.
What do those changes look like over time? The chart below shows the poverty rate and welfare funding for states and the nation from 1998, when all states began reporting data, to 2014.
Choose a state and click play to watch how the numbers have changed over the years. Some states have seen a steady decrease in funding and increase in poor families, while others have been up and down over the years.
For more about welfare reform, check out this recent episode of Reveal.