When they hear the term “welfare state,” most people think of Europe — especially Denmark or France. No doubt those countries offer a wide range of benefits targeted to the middle class, retirees and so forth. But according to a study released by the Cato Institute this week, someone who is poor might just be better off here in New York.
The federal government currently funds more than 100 anti-poverty programs. While no one participates in all of them, many can and do collect assistance from multiple programs.

In New York, a mother with two children under the age of five who participates in six major welfare programs (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, housing assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and free commodities would receive a total benefits package with a value of more than $27,500 per year.
Using a similar measure, Cato found that benefits in Europe ranged from $38,588 per year in Denmark to just $1,112 in Romania. In fact, New York’s welfare system can be more generous than every country in Europe except Denmark and the United Kingdom. New York is much more generous than such well-known welfare states as France ($17,324), Germany ($23,257) and even Sweden ($22,111).