Study: Participation Low in U.S. Food Stamp Program
About 44.2% of eligible California residents receive food stamps, ranking California 37th among U.S. states, according to a study by the National Priorities Project, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Overall, 50.2% of eligible U.S. residents received food stamps in 2004, the study found. Participation was highest in the District of Columbia (71.8%), and Missouri ranked first among states in terms of eligible residents participating in the program. Nevada ranked last, with only 32% of eligible residents receiving food stamps.
Only three states saw either the percentage or number of low-income residents receiving food stamps decline between 2000 and 2004, and most states saw those numbers and percentages increase, the study found.
According to the study, 13.2% of counties had lower-than-average percentages of low-income residents receiving food stamps despite higher-than-average low-income populations.
To be eligible for food stamps, families' incomes cannot exceed 130% of the federal poverty level. The program cost $28.6 billion in 2004 and provided benefits to 23.2 million people (Hotakainen, Sacramento Bee, 8/14).