Food Stamp Usage Continues to Rise Despite Improving Economy

SNAP logo - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance ProgramAccording to the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, a total of 44,199,391 Americans (20,791,320 households) received assistance from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in February of 2011.

According to the FNS, each of the 44.2 million Americans who utilized the food stamp program in February received an average monthly benefit of $133.24, which brought the total cost of the program in February to almost $5.9 billion.

The "Great Recession" got underway in December of 2007. At the time, roughly 27.4 million Americans were receiving help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Since that time, roughly 17 million Americans (8.4 million households) have been added to that total. Despite the fact that the national unemployment rate has been trending lower over the last number of months, the number of people enrolled in SNAP has continued to trend higher. In January of 2010, 39,430,990 million Americans were receiving assistance from SNAP - by January of 2011, this number had risen to 44,187,874.

Here is a breakdown of the averages for FY2008, FY2009 and FY2010:

Persons | Households | Costs

FY 2008

28,222,630 | 12,727,450 | $34,608,397,238

FY 2009

33,489,975 | 15,232,115 | $50,359,917,015

FY 2010

40,301,666 | 18,618,363 | $64,704,748,421


In February of 2011, roughly 14.2% of the population of the United States was receiving food stamp assistance.

Source: Food and Nutrition Service - February 2011 SNAP Data

Filed under: The Economic Meltdown

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