Saturday, March 3, 2012
Food-stamp use jumped in the United States in December 2011 with more than 1 in 7 people receiving benefits
Food stamp rolls increased 5.5% in 2011, the Department of Agriculture reported. The number of recipients in the food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), rose to 46.5 million, or 15% of the population in December 2011. Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware and Iowa all saw year-over-year jumps in use by over 10%. Just Wyoming, Michigan, North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia posted annual drops in the number of people receiving food stamps. Mississippi reported the largest share of its population relying on food stamps, more than 21%. One in five residents in New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington DC also were food-stamp recipients. Food stamp rolls exploded during the downturn, which began in late 2007. Even after the recession came to its official end in June 2009, families continued to tap into food assistance as unemployment remained high and those lucky enough to find jobs were often met with lower wages.