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Nearly 15% of US Receives Food Stamps

Ryan McVay/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- The number of poor Americans seeking food stamps has risen sharply to nearly 15 percent, according to a Wall Street Journal report produced with data from the Department of Agriculture.

According to the Journal, the number of Americans seeking assistance through the program formerly known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has increased by more than 8.1 percent to a total of 45.8 million. The one bright spot is that the pace of growth is declining, according to the Journal.

But things are still tough for many people across the nation. States in the Southeast tend to fare worse than in other areas of the country, with some of the largest percentages of people on food stamps, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In Georgia, 1.8 million people received food stamps.

One of the states hit hardest by the economic climate is Mississippi, where more than 20 percent of the residents receive food stamps, according to the Department of Agriculture, as reported in the WSJ. In four other states, one in five residents receives food stamps from the government, according to the report. Those states are New Mexico, Tennessee, Oregon and Louisiana.

Hardest Hit States

  • Mississippi, 21.5%
  • New Mexico, 20.7%
  • Oregon, 20.6%
  • Tennessee, 20.2%
  • Louisiana, 19.9%

States “made changes to make it easier for residents to tap into the program, such as waiving requirements that limited the value of assets food stamp recipients could own,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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