SNAP(food stamps) Lifting 3.9 Million People Above Poverty Line

September 15, 2011 at 4:41 am Leave a comment

Census Bureau Releases New Poverty Data
SNAP Lifting 3.9 Million People Above Poverty Line

FRAC news release

Contact: Jennifer
Adach, 202.986.2200 x3018

Washington, D.C. – September 13, 2011 – The
Census Bureau reported today that 46.2 million people (15.1 percent) were living
in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009. This is the largest number of
Americans living in poverty since the Census Bureau started publishing these
estimates in 1959.

For struggling families, the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) is making a huge difference.
According to the Census Bureau, 3.9 million people – 1.7 million children – were
lifted above the poverty line in 2010 under the alternative computation that
counts SNAP benefits. In 2009, SNAP lifted 3.6 million people out of

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual report on
food insecurity showed levels of hunger and food insecurity for 2010 that were
the same as 2009, although still about one-third higher than in 2007 before the
recession wreaked havoc with America’s low-income and working families. The flat
food insecurity rates are generally attributed to the growth in SNAP
participation and the important boost in SNAP benefits that the President and
Congress put in place beginning in 2009.

“SNAP lifted people out of
poverty, and it helped keep hunger rates from rising. Both the poverty and
hunger rates tell us that, while too many people continue to struggle, SNAP is a
program that’s extremely important in helping people weather challenging times,”
said FRAC President Jim Weill.

Other findings from the Census Bureau
report include:

  • Since 2007, the poverty rate has grown by 2.6
    percentage points, from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 15.1 percent in 2010.
  • Deep poverty (people living on incomes below
    50 percent of the poverty line) grew from 6.3 percent (19 million people) in
    2009 to 6.7 percent (20.5 million) in 2010.
  • Even more telling is the increase in the
    number of families living below 125 percent of the poverty line, which means
    they are income-eligible for most federal nutrition programs. This number grew
    from 18.7 percent (56.8 million) in 2009 to 19.8 percent (60.4 million) in

The data further underscore the need for the
President and Congress to pursue policies that spur job and economic growth and
protect and improve safety net programs.

For further analysis, visit FRAC’s


Entry filed under: Issues.

Updated sample letter to Congress from Bread for the World Bread Congressional Update – 9/20/11

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