… This is the highest percentage of Americans receiving food stamps since records started being kept back in 1969. The average person receiving assistance now receives $133 per month but even a number this low with such a high number of participants is costing the government $56 billion on an annualized basis.
Here are the top 5 states:
-1. Texas – 3.068 million participants
-2. California – 2.99
-3. New York – 2.57
-4. Florida – 1.77
-5. Illinois – 1.71
What is telling with the data above is that Texas has 24 million people while California has 37 million yet Texas has more people receiving food stamps. Florida and Illinois have nearly the same amount of participants although Florida has 18 million people while Illinois has 13 million people.
When we look at food stamp participation we see the real pain in the economy. I drive around many local areas in California. In many lower to middle class areas you will see department store traffic down to levels unseen in decades. Yet if you look at local dollar stores they are booming with traffic. People are asking about tent cities or soup lines but some of the “hidden” pain is mitigated by people simply buying at lower priced stores. After all, you can buy a loaf of bread, some sliced ham, a few cans of soup, and feed your family for a week. Although this is living on the margins you won’t be starving either but might explain why we haven’t seen a gigantic jump in tent cities or soup lines.
Yet there is a significant jump in traffic to local charities and shelters as you would expect in any deep recession. Those receiving food stamps will pump practically all the money back into the local economy. With $133 a month there isn’t much you can do. Yet it might be enough to provide a tiny buffer. I can only imagine how our country would look like right now if there were no food stamps or unemployment insurance. Can you imagine 35 million people out on the street in the United States of America?