Using linked data from the U.S. Census and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), I examine how childhood conditions affect the likelihood of welfare use as an adult. I look at a number of theories, including the welfare theory, the social isolation and epidemic theories, and an economic theory. The results indicate that African American women are highly affected by welfare use by their parents, and White women are not. African American women are also highly affected by such economic factors as their level of family income and the county unemployment rate during childhood, but their likelihood of using welfare as adults is not affected by childhood neighborhood conditions. White women are highly affected by their neighborhood conditions during childhood.