Food stamp use up 62 percent in recession

Nov. 2, 2011 at 1:03 AM
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DURHAM, N.H., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The percentage of Americans receiving food stamps increased 61.2 percent between 2007, when the recession began, and 2010, U.S. researchers say.

Jessica Bean, vulnerable families research associate at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, said nearly 12 percent of U.S. households reported getting food stamps, an increase of 4 percentage points since 2007.

The number of Americans turning to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, rose to 44 million in 2010, compared with 35.9 million in July 2009 and 27.3 million in November 2007, Bean said.

From 2007 to 2010, the percentage of urban households receiving SNAP benefits increased from 9.8 percent to 14.8 percent, and rural households saw an increase from 10.6 percent to 14.6 percent. Suburban households receiving SNAP benefits increased from 5.4 percent to 9 percent during the period.

Reliance on food stamps was very high among single parents in 2010, rising 10 percentage points nationally among single mothers and fathers since the recession began, Bean said.

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, the analysis said.

"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," Bean said in a statement.

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