The number of Americans receiving food stamps rose sharply after the 2008 financial crisis. Here’s why.
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In 2008, the number of Americans receiving food stamps began to rise sharply. This trend continued for several years, reaching a peak in 2013. There are several reasons why this occurred.
The first reason is the economic recession that began in 2008. This recession led to job losses and wage cuts for many Americans. As a result, more people were unable to afford their basic needs, including food.
The second reason is that the government implemented a number of policy changes that made it easier for people to qualify for food stamps. For example, the government raised the income threshold and expanded the list of eligible expenses. This made it easier for people who were struggling financially to get the help they needed.
The third reason is that more people became aware of the food stamp program and how to apply for it. In previous years, there was often a stigma associated with receiving food stamps. However, as need increased and more people began to openly discuss their experience with food insecurity, this stigma began to dissipate. As a result, more people were willing to apply for food stamps and take advantage of this resource.
In recent years, the number of Americans receiving food stamps has begun to decline. This is due in part to an improving economy and changes in government policy. However, there are still millions of Americans who rely on this vital assistance program to help them put food on the table each month.
The Great Recession
The number of Americans receiving food stamps—now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP—soared in the years after the 2008 financial crisis. In 2008, 26.3 million people were on SNAP; by 2013, that number had increased to 47.6 million. Here’s a look at why so many more Americans needed help putting food on the table after the Great Recession.
The main reason for the sharp increase in SNAP participation was, of course, the Great Recession itself. The number of people receiving SNAP benefits tends to go up during economic downturns and fall during good times; as economist Kathryn Edin has written, “SNAP is our country’s first line of defense against severe poverty.”
When the recession hit, millions of Americans lost their jobs or saw their hours and wages reduced. As a result, many more people turned to SNAP for help.
In addition to increasing SNAP participation, the recession also caused a significant increase in the average amount of benefits each household received. In 2008, the average monthly benefit was $257; by 2013, it had risen to $294.
The rise in food-stamp usage was also due in part to changes in eligibility requirements that made it easier for low-income Americans to qualify for benefits. In recent years, several states have expanded their SNAP programs to include childless adults and working families with higher incomes.
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, the number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to a record high. In 2008, before the recession began, 26.3 million people were on food stamps. By 2012, that number had risen to 47.6 million.1
There are a number of reasons why the number of Americans on food stamps increased so dramatically during and after the recession. First, jobs became harder to find as the economy contracted. As unemployment rose, more people applied for and received food stamps.
Second, the recession led to wage stagnation and declining incomes for many workers. As incomes fell, more households turned to food stamps to make ends meet.
third, during economic downturns, demand for food assistance typically rises as need increases and funding for programs like food stamps becomes available.1
The Great Recession was a particularly severe economic downturn that led to higher levels of unemployment and poverty. As a result, the number of Americans on food stamps rose to a record high in the years following the recession.
The Number of Americans on Food Stamps
In 2008, the United States economy entered a recession. The number of Americans on food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), rose sharply during this time.
There are a number of reasons why the number of food stamp recipients increased during the recession. One reason is that more people lost their jobs and became unable to afford food. Another reason is that food prices rose during the recession, making it difficult for people to afford nutritious meals.
The recession caused a lot of hardship for American families. However, the SNAP program helped many families weather the storm by providing them with access to affordable food.
The Causes of Food Insecurity
There are many factors that can contribute to food insecurity, including poverty, unemployment, low wages, and lack of access to affordable housing and nutritious food. The Great Recession of 2008 was a perfect storm of these factors, leading to a sharp increase in the number of Americans who were struggling to put food on the table.
In the years since the recession ended, there has been some improvement in the economy, but unfortunately not enough to make a significant dent in the number of food-insecure households. In fact, according to the latest data from the US Department of Agriculture, the number of Americans receiving food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) is actually higher now than it was during the height of the recession.
There are many reasons why families may still be struggling even after years of economic growth. Wages have stagnated for many workers, while the costs of housing, child care, and other basic necessities have continued to rise. This leaves families with less money to spend on food. And even if they are able to find employment, they may be working in jobs that don’t provide enough hours or pay enough to make ends meet.
The good news is that there are organizations and programs working hard to combat food insecurity and help families in need. For example, SNAP provides critical assistance to low-income households by helping them afford nutritious foods. And many community groups run food pantries and other programs that provide meals or groceries to those who need them. But until we address the underlying causes of food insecurity, such as poverty and income inequality, millions of Americans will continue to struggle just to put dinner on the table.
The Impact of Food Insecurity
In 2008, the number of Americans receiving food stamps rose sharply, due in part to the increased cost of living and the loss of jobs during the recession. In 2016, about 42 million people—about one in eight Americans—were receiving food stamps.
The rise in food insecurity—not having enough money to buy food—has had a ripple effect on other parts of society. For example, schools have seen an increase in the number of children coming to school hungry, which can impact their ability to learn. And, hospitals have seen an increase in patients with diet-related health problems, such as obesity and diabetes.
The impact of food insecurity doesn’t just stop at the individual level. It also takes a toll on the economy. For example, when people are food insecure, they are less likely to be productive at work and more likely to miss work days. This can lead to lost productivity and higher healthcare costs.
There are many reasons why the number of Americans receiving food stamps has risen in recent years. But, ultimately, it boils down to one thing: not having enough money to buy food.
The Solutions to Food Insecurity
There are many reasons why the number of Americans receiving food stamps has risen in recent years. The most obvious reason is the recession that began in 2008. When people lose their jobs, they also lose their income and often have to rely on food stamps to help make ends meet.
Other reasons for the increase in food stamp usage include changes in the economy that have made it harder for families to get by on one income, and an increase in the number of people who are considered “food insecure” (meaning they don’t have reliable access to enough nutritious food).
The good news is that there are ways to reduce food insecurity and help more people afford nutritious meals. One way is through government programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides financial assistance to eligible households to help them buy food. Another way is through private initiatives like food banks and pantries, which provide free or low-cost food to people in need.
If you’re concerned about hunger and food insecurity in America, there are many ways you can help make a difference. You can donate money or time to organizations that work to combat these issues, or you can advocate for policies that will help make nutritious food more accessible and affordable for everyone. Whatever you do, remember that even small actions can make a big difference in the fight against hunger.
The number of Americans receiving food stamps increased dramatically after the financial crisis of 2008. There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that many people lost their jobs and were unable to find new ones, and that the cost of living increased while incomes remained stagnant. The government also made it easier for people to qualify for food stamps after the crisis.
-National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
-U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
-U.S. Census Bureau
There are a variety of factors that may have contributed to the increase in the number of Americans receiving food stamps after 2008. The Great Recession played a role, as job loss and decreased wages led to more people needing assistance with basic needs like food. In addition, changes to the food stamp program made it easier for people to qualify for benefits. Finally, the number of people living in poverty also increased during this time period.
If you want to learn more about this topic, check out the following articles:
-The Great Recession and Food Stamps: How Economic Downturns Affect Enrollment (PBS)
-More than 47 Million Americans Now Rely on SNAP Benefits (USDA)
-How Many People Actually Live in Poverty in the United States? (Pew Research Center)