One-Third of US Population Gets Food Subsidies

Monday, 08 Jul 2013 02:34 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Roughly one-third of Americans receive subsidized food assistance from the government, outstripping the total number of people employed in the country's private sector.

Of the 316 million people living in America, a total of 101 million people currently participate in at least one of the nation's 15 federal food programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates, costing taxpayers $114 billion in 2012, CNSNews reported.

By contrast, around 97 million people were employed full-time in the private sector in 2012, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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The food stamp program represents the largest federally funded food assistance program, with a record 46.7 million participants, costing $88.6 billion in 2012. The next largest is the National School Lunch program which provides 32 million students with low-cost or no-cost meals daily.

A July 3 Inspector General's audit, however, revealed that there could be overlap in the food programs offered by the USDA with some households and individuals participating in multiple programs, sometimes receiving more than 100 percent of their daily nutritional needs.

"With the growing rate of food insecurity among U.S. households and significant pressures on the federal budget, it is important to understand how food assistance programs complement one another as a safety net, and how services from these 15 individual programs may be inefficient due to overlap and duplication," the audit said.


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