Food stamp use in Milam up 21 percent in two years
Food stamp usage in Milam County has risen 21 percent in the past two years and now 17 percent of Milam residents are getting some form of federal food stamp aid.
A story in Sunday's New York Times stated that one in eight Americans now gets food stamp help, including one of every four children. The story included statistics on every county in the nation.
The times article stated more than 36 million people use plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters like a debit or credit card.
"There are two big programs —food stamps, which now goes under the SNAP acronym, and Medicaid," said Stephanie Goodson, spokesperson for the Texas Depar tment of Health and Human Services in Austin. About 2.9 million Texans receive snap and 2.9 million, many of the same people, receive Medicaid."
Goodson said the LoneStar Card helps with cash assistance, swiped like a debit card at grocery counters.
Stigma about the program has also been lessened, particularly as use has risen dramatically since the recession began. "The path was cleared in better times when the Bush administration led a campaign to erase the program's stigma, calling food stamps 'nutritional aid' instead of welfare, and made it easier to apply," the article stated.
The growth in the program mirrors the rise in unemployment and under-employment since the recession's beginning.
The story and accompanying web site graphic showed Milam with 32 percent of children on some form of food stamps.
Of Milam's 26,000 residents, 17 percent (just over 4,400 people) are issued some form of food stamps.
The graphic also breaks down along white and black racial lines, showing 10 percent and 39 percent, respectively, who receive aid.
Neighboring Robertson and Falls counties both registered 18 percent, the highest in the sevencounty area including Milam. Lowest was Williamson at 6 percent. But the densely populated Williamson County also showed a 109-percent increase in food stamp usage since 2007.
Some counties in rural Alaska, Kentucky and South Dakota measured 49 percent.
Highest in Texas was Zavala County near the U.S.-Mexico border at 37 percent.
Food stamp graphic for every county in the U.S. and the accompanying story can be seen at: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/11/28/us/20091128-foodstamps.html
7 COUNTY AREA FOOD STAMP USAGE
|of pop.||since '07|