Food Stamp Figures Shoot Up Even After Recession Ends

Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 04:15 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Even with a growing economy, the number of people receiving food stamps has climbed to 47 million, a figure more than double what it was a decade ago, according to U.S. researchers.

Having a job may no longer guarantee the ability to put food on the table.

Historically, poverty levels correlated with jobless rates – driving the need for food stamps – but economists at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research have found the number of food stamp recipients has risen even during the recovery, reports.

Enrollment in SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – has more than doubled over the past decade, according to the research. That’s 15 percent of the population.

Though the recession officially ended in 2009, recovery has been sluggish. Between 2003-07, SNAP grew by 24 percent. It has continued to rise even as unemployment has declined. As of September, the unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, down from a high of 10 percent in October 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Three-quarters of households receiving food stamps include a child, an elderly person or a disabled person, according to the non-profit Feeding America. Those same households account for 83 percent of all SNAP benefits.

States with higher-than-average participation rates are Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia, according to a July Washington Post story that cited USDA data. California, New Jersey, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming have lower-than-average rates.

“The Congressional Budget Office projects SNAP participation to begin declining in 2015, with both unemployment and SNAP participation returning to near pre-recession levels by 2022,” according to Feeding America.

Related stories:

Wal-Mart EBT Card Food Stamps Glitch Clears Stores' Shelves

Employers Add 148,000 Jobs as Unemployment Falls to 7.2 Percent

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