From the suburbs to areas of chronic poverty, food stamp usage is up, according to a recent article by the New York Times.
Nationwide “nearly 12 percent of Americans receive aid – 28 percent of African Americans, 15 percent of Latinos and 8 percent of whites. Benefits average about $130 a month for each person in the household, but vary with shelter and child care costs.”
In all but one of California's 58 counties, food stamp usage in 2009 was up from 2007 levels. Especially in Tulare County where one in five residents rely on food stamps for sustenance – a 32 percent increase from 2007. While food stamp usage in Sierra County didn't increase in the downturn, 23 California counties saw at least a 41 percent jump in the number of residents that receive aid.
Still, California only gets help to half of those eligible to receive it. The interactive map accompanying the story points out that, “Los Angeles County contains nearly twice as many poor people as Chicago's Cook County, but Cook has more people on food stamps.”