Nearly 15 Percent of U.S. Receives Food Stamps

By Lyneka Little

Nov 3, 2011 1:56pm

The number of poor Americans seeking food stamps has risen sharply to nearly 15 percent, according to a  Wall Street Journal report produced with data from the Department of Agriculture.

According to the Journal, the number of Americans seeking assistance through the program formerly known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has increased by more than 8.1  percent  to a whopping total of 45.8 million. The one bright spot is that the pace of growth is declining, according to the Journal.

Last year, Households that received food stamps in had a median household income of $17,912, compared with the national median of $50,046, according to the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, a policy and research organization. The same year the number of families receiving food stamps increased four percentage points since the great recession  kicked off in 2007, according to the nonprofit organization.

Things are tough for many people across the nation.

States in the Southeast tend to fare worse than in other areas of the country, with some of the largest percentages of people on food stamps, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In Georgia, 1.8 million people received food stamps.

One of the states hit hardest by the economic climate is Mississippi, where more than 20 percent of the residents receive food stamps, according to the Department of Agriculture, as reported in the WSJ. In four other states, one in five residents receives food stamps from the government, according to the report. Those states are New Mexico, Tennessee, Oregon and Louisiana.

Hardest Hit States

  • Mississippi, 21.5%
  • New Mexico, 20.7%
  • Oregon, 20.6%
  • Tennessee, 20.2%
  • Louisiana, 19.9%
States “made changes to make it easier for residents to tap into the program, such as waiving requirements that limited the value of assets food stamp recipients could own,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

An interactive map provided by the Wall Street Journal can be found on the Website.

 

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