For nearly five years, the number of persons receiving food stamps has exceeded 45 million. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there were 45,368,265 beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in October 2015. That number increased by more than 85,000 from September to October of last year.
 
The USDA has tracked the number of participants in the free food program ever since 1969. That was when the average participation rate was approximately 2,800,000. Ever since that time, program participation has increased by more than 1,500 percent, while the country’s population has increased by only 60 percent.
 
It was in 2001 that the number of persons receiving food stamp benefits surpassed 45 million. Since that time, the number of recipients has been consistently more than 45 million. It made a record at 48 million recipients in December 2012.
 
Households receiving food stamps got an average monthly benefit of $255.64 in November 2015. The federal largesse cost American taxpayers $5.73 billion. However, according to the USDA, the government is counting on projected trends that suggest that the number of recipients may be about to decline.


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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