Officially unemployment rate in the USA stabilised last month at the level of 5 percent, although some economists and politicians estimate that it is much higher – nearly 10 percent.

Last October roughly one in seventh of Americans, 45.4 million, received nutrition aid from the state. 

During the 2007-2009 recession, state and federal governments actively encouraged people like Crofoot to take advantage of the aid. Millions did, and many are still claiming benefits. Enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the formal name for food stamps, remains near record levels, even as the unemployment rate has fallen by half.

“When unemployment was rising people said enrollment would fall sharply when things got better,” said Parke Wilde, an associate professor of nutrition policy at Tufts University in Boston. “That hasn’t happened.”

Another economic downturn could send costs to new heights.


Food Stamps 2015

Source: US Department of Agriculture