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More People Now Collect Food Stamps Than Live in California and Texas Combined

Food stamp usage is up 14 percent from last year, with tens of millions of Americans using the service and costing the country $6 billion a month.

Food stamp usage is up 14 percent from the last fiscal year, with more than 43 million individuals and 20 million families now reliant on the service. That means that as of November 2010, the cost per month of the benefit program is almost $6 billion.

The latest data released by the Department of Agriculture shows that in November, an additional 394,957 new recipients were added to the food stamps program, an increase of 14.17% on a year-over-year basis, while household participation increased 16.49%.

Individual participation as a ratio of the overall civilian non-institutional population has increased 13.23% over the same period.


In October 2008, food stamps were costing the United States about $3.6 billion. In the ensuing months, as you can tell from the graph above, America’s recession and joblessness have worsened, thus precipitating our skyrocketing food stamp price tag. If you think jobs programs are expensive, just look at how expensive it is when people don't have jobs.

Of course, lest you should think there’s anyone getting rich off food stamps—i.e. the famous “welfare queen” myth—note that the average family receiving food stamps gets about $9.50 per day. For individuals that number falls to $4.

Correction: This post was originally titled "More People Now Collect Food Stamps Than Live in California and Texas Combined" based on the belief that the sum of food stamp recipients was the individuals added to the families. That was wrong, and the title has been amended.

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