Over 20 percent of US children ‒ an estimated 16 million youths ‒ are on food stamps, according to the latest government figures. That number has almost doubled since the Great Recession began in 2007. Nearly a quarter are living below the poverty line.
More than one in five of the country’s 73.7 million children now receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits ‒ better known as food stamps ‒ the US Census Bureau announced Wednesday in its annual Families and Living Arrangements table package. Before the economic downturn in December 2007, only one in eight kids ‒ 9 million ‒ were on food stamps.
The US child poverty rate ‒ the percent of children living in households with incomes below 50 percent of the national median income ‒ is 23.1 percent. Only Romania is higher, at 23.6 percent, according to a 2013 UNICEF report.
There are 14.7 million poor children ‒ of which 6.5 million are considered extremely poor ‒ in the US, according to a new report on child poverty by Children’s Defense Fund, which called the numbers “a national moral disgrace.”