One of every four American children and one in every eight Americans uses food stamps to meet their nutritional needs, reports the New York Times.
Last week we briefly discussed the US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service’s evidence that rising food insecurity characterizes these recessionary times. Now, the Times supplements this information by reporting that “there are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps.” Indeed, in more than 800 counties, the food stamp program “helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps. Even in Peoria, Ill. — Everytown, U.S.A. — nearly 40 percent of children receive aid.”
And food stamp usage is growing at a rapid pace. “There are about 50 small counties and a dozen sizable ones where the rolls have doubled in the last two years. In another 205 counties, they have risen by at least two-thirds. These places with soaring rolls include populous Riverside County, Calif., most of greater Phoenix and Las Vegas, a ring of affluent Atlanta suburbs, and a 150-mile stretch of southwest Florida from Bradenton to the Everglades.”
And yet there are perhaps another 15 to 16 million eligible Americans who do not receive nutritional aid. Nationwide, food stamps reach about two-thirds of those eligible, with rates ranging from an estimated 50 percent in California to 98 percent in Missouri.”