Phil Izzoblogs.wsj.com Food-stamp use rose 2.4% in the U.S. in May from a year earlier, with more than 15% of the U.S. population receiving benefits. (See an interactive map with data on use since 1990.) One of the federal government’s biggest social welfare programs, which expanded when the economy convulsed, isn’t shrinking back alongside the recovery. Food stamp rolls were up 0.2% from the prior month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in data that aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations. Though annual growth continues, the pace has slowed since the depths of the recession. The number of recipients in the food stamp program, formally known as theSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is at 47.6 million, or nearly one in six Americans. Illinois and Wyoming registered double-digit year-over-year jumps in use, while Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington state all posted annual drops. Mississippi was the state with the largest share of its population relying on food stamps — 22% — though Washington, DC was a bit higher overall at 23%. One in five residents in Oregon, New Mexico, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky also were food-stamp recipients. Wyoming had the smallest share of its population on food stamps — 7%.
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