A shocking statement from the Department of Agriculture reveals that 22% of residents in Mississippi are on food stamps. This compares to a rate of 1 in 6 Americans, rising 2.8% as of April this year. Mississippi, ironically, is also the most obese state, claiming as a high a rate as 32.5% of adults with a BMI over 30% and 7 out 10 adults are overweight.
Public expenditure on food stamps, unlike much of the rest of the post-recession economy, is not healing. In all, 47.5 million Americans, or 15% of the total population, are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or S.N.A.P. Luckily, however, ten states dipped in their enrollment. Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Alaska, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah all decreased in number of residents on food stamps. However, the rate was as high as 20% for Oregon, New Mexico, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky.
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Recipients receive $150 a week for a family of four. “This program is a supplemental program,” says John Davis, director of the SNAP program in Mississippi. “It was never intended to fully fund the families in need for food."
For lawmakers, this issue strikes close to home. Washington D.C., a district that does not count as a state, had a higher percentage of food stamp enrollment than any other state at a shocking 23%. The high rate of enrollment has led many to criticize eligibility qualifications, illegal trading, and fraud issues associated with the program.