Over 46 million Americans, more than one in seven, received food-purchasing assistance through federal aid programs in June, according to US government data.
In June 2014, there were nearly 46.5 million recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as food stamps, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The number of SNAP recipients was up 271,000 since the previous month in May when there were 46.2 million individuals participating in the program.
The report also shows that the number of US households participating in the SNAP program increased from 22.6 million in May to 22.7 million households in June, an increase of 124,000 households.
According to the USDA’s website, there were 43.2 million recipients of food stamps in October 2010. Since then, the number of beneficiaries has increased by 3.3 million people, or 7.6 percent.
SNAP provides food-purchasing assistance for low and no-income people living in the US. It is a federal aid program, administered by the USDA, though benefits are distributed by states.
It is also the largest nutrition assistance program in the US. The SNAP caseload has increased as a result of the Great Recession and rising food prices.
In November 2012, the US Census Bureau reported that more than 16 percent of the population lived in poverty, including about 20 percent of American children, up from 14.3 percent (approximately 43.6 million) in 2009, the highest level since 1993.
In 2011, extreme poverty in the United States, meaning households living on less than $2 per day before government benefits, was double 1996 levels at 1.5 million households, including 2.8 million children.