Food Stamp Usage Continues to Climb in the United States

Supplementa Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) usage on the rise - IllustrationFood stamp usage in the United States continues to go up. And up. And up.

According to the Food and Nutrition Service (of the USDA), a total of 45,753,078 Americans (21,581,234 households) used the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in May of 2011.

According to the FNS, the total cost of these benefits to the country in May was a little over $6.12 billion.

The average benefit per person was $133.80, while the average benefit per household was $283.65.

Food stamp usage in the United States has now risen for the 31st straight month. The last time that the food stamp usage actually decreased in the United States was in October of 2008. A total of 30.8 million Americans used food stamps that month, for a total cost of $3.7 billion.

Since the start of the "Great Recession" in December of 2007, food stamp usage has increased by approximately 67% in the country. The total monthly cost of these benefits to the country has more than doubled, from approximately $2.8 billion to more than $6.1 billion.


According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, one of the reasons why food stamp usage is up (along with weak economic activity and high unemployment, of course) in the country is because the government has been doing a better job of "getting the word out" about the program. Vilsack also argues that food stamps are "the most direct stimulus you can get into the economy during tough times".

Source: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Filed under: The Economic Meltdown

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