The Slatest

Census Finds One in Five American Children Depends on Food Stamps to Eat

A girl pays for her mother’s groceries using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) tokens, more commonly known as food stamps.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

There was a sobering finding amidst the data released by the Census Bureau Wednesday showing a staggering 16 million children in the U.S.—or one in five kids under the age of 18—received food stamp assistance in 2014. Overall, more than 46.5 million Americans were on food stamps last year, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The census numbers show that despite the gradual momentum of economic recovery, resulting in record highs in American wealth overall, large swaths of the country still have not recovered from the Great Recession. In 2014, more American kids relied on food stamps than at any time since the 2008 economic decline. Nine million children received food stamps in 2007, and 26 million Americans of all ages received assistance.

“The spike in food stamp spending has caught the attention of Congress, and House Republicans tried to cut the program by around $4 billion a year in 2013,” the Associated Press reports. “In an eventual compromise, Congress agreed to cuts of around $800 million a year … Since then, many states have found ways to get around the cuts. The [food stamp] program will still be under scrutiny in the new Republican Congress.”