Food Stamps at 57

The U.S. Food Stamp Program turns 57 this month. We hear a lot about this program these days, but what exactly is it?

In September 1959, the Congress acted to help some Americans achieve minimum levels of nutrition, passing a bill which created food stamps for those with low incomes.

More recently, in 2008, the Food Stamp Program was renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

There are nearly 46 million Americans in 13.5 percent of all households enrolled in the program today.

That’s nearly double the number from 2004.

The average value of the benefit they receive each month is almost $127, and the total cost of the federal program is just under $70 billion a year.

States that have participation rates over 19 percent are Oregon and Mississippi.  States with the lowest are Wyoming, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Colorado.

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