What is Social Welfare?

Definition: Social Welfare can be defined as the group of assistance programs designed to ensure the well being of a nation’s citizens. In other words, it is a system that aims to provide quality care to society participants.

What Does Social Welfare Mean?

Social Welfare can be defined both as a system and as an overall effort. This means that it can be designed as a systematic set of programs that assist the population in different stages of their lives but, that system comes from an effort and intention to provide that social welfare situation on the first place. Overall, social welfare means an ongoing attempt to take care of particular needs identified in the society.

There are many different social welfare programs and they are implemented very differently depending on the country that we are looking at. There are unemployment care programs, elderly-people programs, retirement programs; assistance for disabled individuals, widow’s care, among a wide range of support efforts most frequently developed as part of a government agenda to attend those particular situations.

This welfare assistance programs are designed by first researching the population and then addressing the problems identified by the study of its dynamics.

Here’s an example.


Mr. Bull is a 47 years old mathematics professor. He has more than 20 years of experience teaching mathematics to high school students, but recently the school where he was working at was closed due to federal budget cuts. That means that Mr. Bull is currently unemployed. In this case, what would be the role of a social welfare system to help Mr. Bull?

As we previously discussed, social welfare is a set of assistance programs designed to ensure the well being of a nation’s citizens. Mr. Bull’s situation is not a particular one. There are probably many people going through the same situation at any particular moment and the role of a social welfare system is to ensure the well being of these people. By designing, for example, an unemployment support program, the government can take care of individuals like Mr. Bull to help them through the transition between one job and the other.