Study: Food-stamp rolls jump 136% in RI, double US increaseSeptember 19th, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
The number of residents collecting food stamps grew an astonishing 135.7% from 2007 to 2011, more than double the increase of 69.9% recorded nationally, according to a new study by Ben Senauer, an economics professor at the University of Minnesota, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
But Rhode Island is not an outlier when it comes to how many residents are on food stamps, perhaps because the eye-popping increase coincided with a new push by officials to reach out to those who were eligible.
The study found 12.4% of Rhode Island’s roughly 1 million residents were on food stamps as of 2010, which was below the 13.1% level nationally and third-highest in New England; the rate was 11.3% in Massachusetts. Senauer called the program – now known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – “a lifesaver since the economic downturn.”
“Given that the welfare reforms of the late 1990s required recipients to find work fairly quickly, today’s slow recovery and slow job growth have made food stamps increasingly important for low-income Americans,” he wrote. “Until the economy improves significantly, even poor people who have jobs are going to need the lifeline that SNAP offers.” The program has also become an issue in the presidential campaign.