20% Of Food Stamp Users Had No Earned Household Income Last Year

So it's white U.S. citizens who make up the bulk of food stamp users. Damn, there goes another tea party myth! I'm not shocked that this is the sole source of income for many, since I'm sometimes approached by locals who try to sell me their food stamps:

The Agriculture Department’s annual snapshot on the characteristics of food stamp households, released Friday, shows that seven in 10 households receiving food stamps had no earned income last year, though many got other forms of government benefits.

Nearly 21% of households on food stamps also received Supplemental Security Income, assistance for the aged and blind. Some 21.4% received Social Security benefits. Just 8% of households also received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the cash welfare program.

But some 20% of households had no cash income of any kind last year, up from 15% in 2007, the year the recession began, and up from 7% in 1990.

That’s partly because most household heads who were receiving food stamps were also out of work. Just 21.8% of them had jobs in 2010, while 19.8% were jobless and looking for work.

More than half of household heads who received food stamps, 51.1%, weren’t in the labor force and weren’t searching for work. Labor-force dropouts have been a particular concern for economists, who worry their lost potential damages economic output. Those who drop out of the work force often turn to other government programs, such as Social Security disability, which is costly.

On average, food stamp households brought home $731 per month in gross income. Their food assistance averaged $287 a month.

Among the other interesting factoids:

–Food stamps may be emerging as a lifeline for families after their unemployment insurance expired. Just 6.7% of households who received food stamps were getting jobless benefits.

– Nearly half of all food-stamp recipients, 47%, were children under the age of 18. Another 8% of recipients were age 60 or older.

Whites made up the largest share of food stamp households, 35.7%. Some 22% of households receiving food stamps were counted as African American and 10% were Hispanic.

U.S. born citizens made up the majority, 94%, of food stamp households.


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