How Bad is Food Stamp Usage?

“I’ve seen a common theme in the comments section from the “America is falling into an abyss” crowd – the recent rise in food stamp usage.  Without getting political, I figured I’d take a look at the raw data and see what we could conclude.  Here goes nothing.

First of all, food stamp usage ALWAYS rises in a recession so the recent surge is not remotely surprising.  As you can see in Figure 1 below, every recession since the 1970′s (when this data is first available) has seen a sharp increase in food stamp usage.  I used a year over year rate of change in order to compare the current environment on an apples to apples basis with past events.  It’s too easy to look at the “record high” or the headline figure in food stamps and simply conclude that things are worse than they’ve ever been.  The reality is that food stamps rose at about a 20% year over year rate at the worst point in the current recession and has since declined to a 4.25% year over year pace.   So, the rate of change is still positive, but it’s come way down from its worst levels….”

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4 Responses to How Bad is Food Stamp Usage?

drummerboy says:

the first mistake is,”we are not in a recession”.1/3 of the american population is in dire straights.if it weren’t for food stamps,rest assured,the other 2/3′s would get mugged on a regular basis.

CRONKITE says:

hahahaha…perhaps one reason to militarize police?
When will you realize that his economy is all about the upper echelon.
So long as 25% of the nation can do well and consume 80% of the garbagio produced from China then the country is a o k.
Get with the new normal program!
Remember the markets will never go down ever again.

drummerboy says:

why does everyone want to deny the fact that we are living in a modern day depression.and then to turn around,(the 25%),and fluff it off like it doesn’t exist,because it’s the “new normal”…….piss on my leg,then tell me it’s raining.

CRONKITE says:

drummerboy,

it is all about perception. by fooling the masses the hopes are things repair themselves as they have always done so. perception has a lot to do with that.
however the past few recessions since the lat ’90s have seen less of a recovery for the over all populous.
that is why the new normal is about jobless recovery, the 25% and their consumption, etc.


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