Some 15% of U.S. Receives Food Stamps

Food-stamp use rose 1.8% in the U.S. in January from a year earlier, with 15% of the U.S. population receiving benefits. (See an interactive map with data on use since 1990.)

One of the federal government’s biggest social welfare programs, which expanded when the economy convulsed, isn’t shrinking back alongside the recovery, the Journal reported last month.

Food stamp rolls increased on a year-over-year basis, but were 1.1% lower from the prior month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported. Though annual growth continues, the pace has slowed since the depths of the recession.

The number of recipients in the food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), reached 47.3 million, or nearly one in seven Americans.

Illinois was the only state to see a double-digit year-over-year jumps in use, while Oregon, Maine, Missouri, Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Idaho, North Dakota, Utah and North Carolina all posted annual drops.

Mississippi was the state with the largest share of its population relying on food stamps — 22% — though Washington, DC was a bit higher overall at 23%. One in five residents in Louisiana, Tennessee and George also were food-stamp recipients. Wyoming had the smallest share of its population on food stamps — 7%.

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