What do you think of when you think of welfare? Probably something along the lines of help or money given to families living in poverty. Or, work requirements to receive assistance.
But actually, in 2014 only 23 out of every 100 poor families received basic cash assistance. That's partly because states have a lot of discretion in deciding how to spend federal welfare block grants, known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF.
States spend welfare money on the obvious things, like childcare and work-related activities. They also spend a significant chunk on some very surprising things, which you can see using this online tool from Marketplace.
We took a trip to Oklahoma to hang out in a marriage class for middle-income couples, funded by — you guessed it — your taxpayer dollars.
“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VABEFORE YOU GO