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Social Welfare Spending Hit $641 Billion in Fiscal 1983

January 01, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — It cost federal, state and local governments $641.7 billion in fiscal 1983 to run all social welfare programs, from public schools to pensions for the elderly to food for the needy, the Social Security Administration said Tuesday.

The spending on all social welfare programs was $45.8 billion higher--7.7%--than in fiscal 1982, but these services consumed the same share of the gross national product, 19.4%.

Taking inflation into account, the social spending rose by 3.9% above the 1982 figure, according to a report by Ann Kallman Bixby of Social Security's Office of Research, Statistics and International Policy.

55% of All Expenditures

The social welfare programs accounted for almost 55% of all government expenditures. State and local governments spent a larger share of their budgets on such programs than the federal government: 61%, compared with 52%.

In 1950, governments spent only 37.4% of their budgets attending to the health, education and welfare of citizens, and the programs consumed only 8.2% of the gross national product. By 1970, the programs claimed a 48% share of government spending and cost almost 15% of the GNP.

Social welfare spending as a percentage of all government expenditures peaked at 60% in 1976, when the programs cost 19.3% of the GNP. Since then, the programs' share of governments' budgets has declined to 54.8%.

Record High in '82, '83

As a percentage of the GNP, the social welfare expenditures dipped to 17.8% in 1979, then moved back up to the all-time high of 19.4% in both 1982 and 1983.

The 1983 spending of $641.7 billion broke out this way:

--$330.6 billion for social insurance, including Social Security, Medicare and other government pensions;

--$141.5 billion for education; $85.8 billion in public aid, including Medicaid and such welfare programs as food stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Supplemental Security Income;

--$36.9 billion for other health and medical care;

--$25.8 billion for veterans' programs;

--$9.1 billion for housing;

--$12 billion for assorted other services, including vocational rehabilitation, institutional care and child nutrition.

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