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Working-age Americans: the new majority of food stamp users
By: Ruben Veloz, Associated Press
El PASO, Texas-- For the first time ever, working-class Americans now make up the majority of food stamp users.
Its a big switch from few years ago, when children and the elderly relied heavily on the federal program, according to a study by the University of Kentucky.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 50 percent of food stamp users are adults between the ages of 15-59 and 28 percent of those users are in homes headed by a person with a college degree.
The study says a food stamp user with a college degree is up 8 percent since 1980 and is the fastest growing group of recipients of food stamps in America.
Researchers blame this change on income disparity, i.e: too many low wage jobs and not enough high-paying jobs for people with college degrees.
Its estimated the federal government spends more than 80 billion a year on SNAP, otherwise known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
According to the Texas health and human services commission, more than 3.2 million people received food stamps to buy groceries just this month alone, and more than 1.1 million of them were between the ages of 18-59.
In El Paso County, more than 62,000 of those recipients were working Americans between the ages of 18 and 59 as well.
Statistics from the New Mexico Human Services Department also showed more than 55 percent of adults relied on food stamps in 2013, which was also higher than the number of children under the age of 18 who relied on SNAP.
Experts say even though the unemployment rate is going down, its likely that adults will remain high for the next 10 years.
President Obama is expected to focus part of his state of the union speech on reducing income inequality, such as raising the federal minimum wage and creating higher paying jobs.