About 15 percent of Americans — 45.8 million people — rely on food stamps for groceries, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
Food stamp rolls have risen 8.1 percent in the past year, although the pace of growth has slowed from the depths of the recession.
The number of people in the food stamp program, known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), will probably continue rising due to the flooding effects related to September's Hurricane Irene, which hit a wide swath of the U.S. East Coast, the Journal adds.
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High unemployment rates are keeping people in the program as well.
Mississippi reported the largest share of its population relying on food stamps, at more than 21 percent.
One in five residents in New Mexico, Tennessee, Oregon and Louisiana were also receiving food stamps.
Separately, the percentage of Americans using food stamps has risen 61.2 percent between 2007, when the recession began, and 2010, the UPI newswire reports.
Single parents in particular are tapping the program.
In 2010, 42 percent of single mothers and 25 percent of single fathers relied on food stamps and in rural places, the rate was as high as one in two single mothers.
"These findings suggest that not only did SNAP receipt continue to rise in 2010, but it rose at an accelerated pace among households struggling the most, providing critical support to families in a tough economy," says Jessica Bean, vulnerable families research associate at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, according to UPI.
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