Food stamp usage continues to climb

The latest data show that 387,849 new recipients were added to the food stamps program in March 2011

This chart shows food stamp participation (red) and the unemployment rate (blue) since mid-2004. Food stamp usage has been steadily rising since 2008, even as the unemployment rate improves.

As a logical consequence of the prolonged economic downturn it appears that participation in the federal food stamp program is continuing to rise.

In fact, household participation has been climbing so steadily that it has far surpassed the last peak set as a result of the immediate fallout following hurricane Katrina.

The latest data released by the Department of Agriculture shows that in March, an additional 387,849 new recipients were added to the food stamps program, an increase of 11.13% on a year-over-year basis, while household participation increased 13.57%.

Individual participation as a ratio of the overall civilian non-institutional population has increased 10.28% over the same period.

Participation continues to increase with nominal benefit costs climbing a lofty 11.32% on a year-over-year basis to $5.98 billion for the month.

Add/view comments on this post.


The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link above.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.