Census Bureau: 21.6% of U.S. Children—15,931,000--on Food Stamps in 2014

Terence P. Jeffrey | November 23, 2015 | 5:45pm EST
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(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(CNSNews.com) - Of the approximately 73,623,000 children under the age of 18 in the United States in 2014, 15,931,000—or 21.6 percent—were in households that received food stamps, according to data released today by the Census Bureau.

The information comes from Table C8 in the Census Bureau’s Families and Living Arrangements data, which is derived from the Current Population Survey’s 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) and which the Census Bureau says reflects 2014 numbers. (The ASEC survey asks respondents about the receipt of food stamps in the previous year.)

The number and percentage of children in households on food stamps held relatively steady from 2013 to 2014, according to the Census surveys. In 2013, according to Table C8 from the 2014 ASEC, 16,000,000 (or 21.7 percent) of the approximately 73,692,000 children then in the United States were in households on food stamps.

When the Census Bureau released the Families and Living Arrangements data from the 2014 CPS ASEC on Jan. 28, 2015, it put out a press release headlined “One in Five Children Receive Food Stamps, Census Bureau Reports.”


“The number of children receiving food stamps remains higher than it was before the start of the Great Recession in 2007,” the bureau said in that January release.

Back in 2002, according to the Census Bureau, there were approximately 73,001,000 children in the United States and 8,453,000—or 11.6 percent—were on food stamps.

In 2007, according to the 2008 ASEC, 9,870,000—or 13.3 percent--of the 74,104,000 children in the United States were on food stamps.

In 2009, the year the last recession ended, 13,915,000—or 18.6 percent—of the 74,718,000 children in the United States were on food stamps.

In 2013, according to the data from the 2014 CPS ASEC, children in households on food stamps peaked at 16,000,000—or 21.7 percent—of the 73,692,000 children in the country.

In 2014, the fourth year after the end of the last recession, there were still 15,931,000 children in households on food stamps--or 2,016,000 more than the 13,915,000 in 2009.

In January, the Census Bureau released a chart showing that of the approximately 16 million children on food stamps as reported by 2014 CPS ASEC 8.1 million (8,115,000) were in households headed by a mother only. Another 0.9 million (894,000) were in households with no parent present.

(Census Bureau chart)

According to the Department of Agriculture which runs the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), there were 19,096,000 people in the program in the average month of fiscal 2002. That climbed to 46,664,000 in the average month of fiscal 2014.

As of August, which is the latest month on record, there were 45,464,508 beneficiaries in the food stamp program. That same month, there were 22,404,320 households in the food stamp program, according to the Department of Agriculture.

In fiscal 2014, according to the department, the government paid out $69,998,840,000 in food stamp benefits, and the total cost of the program was $74,165,080,000.

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