This state is No. 1 for food stamps

With more than 1 in 5 citizens receiving assistance, it has more people on the program than the population of Boston or Seattle.

By Jason Notte Jul 10, 2013 7:02AM
Credit: © Richard Levine / Alamy
Caption: A sign in front of a convenience store accept SNAP cardsGo ahead, take a wild guess as to which state relies on food stamps the most?

Has to be one of those lefty, bleeding-heart, tax-guzzling states, doesn't it? Lots of cities, lots of public spending and entitlements, very little "real America." That's exactly the profile of today's taker society, isn't it?

Well, only if you feel that Mississippi fits any of those descriptions. According to the Department of Agriculture's latest figures, mapped out by The Wall Street Journal, 22% of citizens in The Magnolia State are currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That's more than one in every five people in the state and well above the national average of 15%.

Just to be clear, that's the same Mississippi that still sports the Confederate Stars and Bars in its state flag and elected firmly Republican Phil Bryant as its governor and Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker as its senators. The state now has roughly 663,000 people on food stamps, a population larger than that of Boston, Seattle, Denver or Washington, D.C.

It also has a lot of company. With 47.5 million Americans on food stamps, thanks to a recession that had even doctoral recipients seeking assistance, the program doesn't play politics. While 21% (1.3 million people) of right-leaning Tennessee is on food stamps, the same percentage are on the rolls in blue states like New Mexico (441,550) and Oregon (871,676). New York alone has nearly 3.2 million people on food stamps, which still trails the 4 million getting assistance in Texas.

Overall food stamp use across the map climbed by 2.8% in April compared with the same month last year. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office predicts unemployment will drop to 4.6% by 2017 but that SNAP enrollment will only drop to 43.3 million people.

That's not sitting well with some members of Congress, who see the SNAP program as a big spender begging for cuts. After plans to trim food stamp spending helped sink the farm bill, opponents have taken the unprecedented step of attempting to separate nutrition requirements from the farm bill entirely in an effort to cut both farm subsidies and SNAP spending.

Considering that 30% of Mississippi's population is considered obese -- including 60% of residents below the poverty line -- guess which state those cuts will likely affect most.

More on moneyNOW

Jul 10, 2013 9:57AM
I have lived and WORKED in MS all my life. I see first hand the abuse of the system. It is so rampant here. I see morbidly obese people using their EBT card to buy everything from steaks, to potato chips, soft drinks etc. They should only be allowed to buy the basic HEALTHY foods, not junk food. These same people have never worked a day in their life but somehow manage to "qualify" for SNAP but can pay for their Escalades with the 22 rims and have their fancy fingernails,hair pieces and fake designer bags. They also manage to re-produce like rabbits so they can keep they freebies while the grandparents raise the kids (or just let them raise themselves on the street). Some people truly need help but the abusers of the system far outweigh the ones who truly NEED the assistance. The assistance should be given on a temporary basis but unfortunately it has become a way of life here and is passed down from generation to generation. The kids see the parents getting all this free "assistance" without every working so why should they ever work. It's ridiculous!!
Jul 10, 2013 9:30AM
Another article that strives to divide the people, its not about blue state or red state. The fact that so many people need this kind of help and the fact our government is doing nothing to improve things in this country is the real issue.
Jul 10, 2013 9:35AM
I think ''WE'' are all missing the point- - - what the ''heck'' are so many people doing on assistance programs in general- - food stamps in particular? ? ? ? BECAUSE THEY ARE ''FREE''! ! ! ! You get to go on food stamps and then you require your children to get free lunches in school. AM I MISSING SOMETHING HERE? ? ? Food stamps have doubled under this present administration of MORONS in the ''WH''- - - so what exactly does that mean? ? I ask because I am confused. Does that mean that George Bush was ''REALLY MEAN'' and preferred people starve? I am just guessing here but perhaps people had JOBS back then and the government did not NEED to save them. OHHHH YEA, I forgot- - - ''they'' were also willing to go to work! ! ! !  AMEN BROTHER! ! !
Jul 10, 2013 9:39AM

It seems like every single column on MSN is editorialized somehow. What happened to straight journalism? If I wanted to know people's opinions on the news I'd read some schmoe's blog or browse the comments section.


As for the content of the article, the numbers presented don't even tell half the story. What about demographics? How many of those 663,000 are white vs. black vs. hispanic vs. asian? Why not break it down by district and then compare how those districts voted in the most recent elections? This article is just an excuse to call Republicans hypocrites without doing any real research. You cherry-picked one number and decided to write an article about it. Talk about lazy!

Jul 10, 2013 9:10AM

lets use, recipients per square mile.


that will thrust new york to the number 1 spot.


so it now appears new york with 3.2 million on fooodstamps with only 54k square miles of land makes it the worst state for foodstamps now.


isnt playing with numbers fun?

Jul 10, 2013 9:29AM

Your on food stamps ..... You are a slave to the Government ! So don't complain about slavery !

Jul 10, 2013 9:30AM

47 million on foodstamps = "summer of recovery"



Jul 10, 2013 9:31AM
Author is a bigot...just had to put in the Stars and bars " commit
Jul 10, 2013 9:55AM
this is the most abused program.. the program should be dismantled and rebuilt with ways to stop its abuse. I know way too many people who are on this that dont need to be and they sell the the money on their cards for 50 cents to the dollar.
Jul 10, 2013 9:31AM
what a ridiculously left-leaning slanted article.  this isn't labeled an opinion piece, its under money news.  food stamps are related to poverty, not politics, idiot. 
Jul 10, 2013 8:29AM
First of all, it's not shocking that states that thrive to pay the least, have the greatest percent wise of their population on food stamps. And yes it is important to note by percent of population which in spite of what a poster stated, is clearly a hard number. It's just a hard number that poster doesn't like. New York has far more folks than Mississippi.

New York has over 19 million folks, Mississippi has under 3 million. New York is ranked as one of the top places to start a business and is literally the Business Capital of the World. Mississippi is ranked dead last in almost every category but one, they are number one in Obesity. Calling hard facts a lie just because it doesn't suit your agenda is typical of the types posting on most posting boards.
Jul 10, 2013 9:38AM

Pretty soon, we will all be on food stamps.  If Obama gets his way by destroying the American spirit, we will all have beans & weenies while he and the other new royals feast on filet mignon.


It's all Obama's fault.

Jul 10, 2013 9:37AM
What it doesn't say here, is why the numbers are so high, I'm sure their are a whole bunch of people drawing food stamps that really don't want to, but since there are no jobs to be found, people still have to eat.
Jul 10, 2013 9:37AM
... once again blurring the distinction between Democrats and Republicans, and once again demonstrating that the Federal Government of the United (Socialist) States of America should not be confiscating wealth from the productive economy to feed the unproductive masses. 
Jul 10, 2013 9:00AM

author is smoking something.


3.2 million in new york is more than 660k in Miss.

Jul 10, 2013 8:10AM

who cares if its a condederate flag waiving state.  Now watch al those so called tolerant liberals give this post a thumbs down.  thumbing this down is proof you are an intolerant liberal bigot


i thought liberals LOVED LOVED LOVED helping out those in need?  so why do liberals care who they are helping?  liberals are also more tolerant and accepting and less likely to judge others based on income and social status.  thats what only rich white republicans do right?  imean thats what we are told right?


i also love how the author uses percentages instead of hard numbers to say which state has the most on foodstamps.  mississippi has 660,000 according to the author but then says New York has 3.2 million.


so how does Miss have more than New York?  oh thats right use a percentage to lie. JASON QUOTES A PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE TO LIE


watch all these so called tolerant liberals on here claim that help should be cut off to miss and other red states.  Yup, real tolerant all right

Jul 10, 2013 8:34AM
The author also mentioned the two top states, blue and red, New York and Texas, their total numbers regardless of percentage of population yet this poster is screaming lies. What is this guy smoking?
Jul 10, 2013 10:18AM
I live in Texas and I can tell you where most of the assistance goes; illegal aliens, excuse me, "undocumented individuals" (do not want to dehumanize them). It is so bad, I was paying for my gas at our Stripes station, when the woman in front of me pulled out her Lonestar Card (Foodstamp Debit Card) to pay for 3 cans of Red bull, 1 Starbucks Ice Coffee.  Then her husband came in and paid for the gas on the two vehicles they were driving. Apparently they were moving because one vehicle was a U-Haul, the other vehicle was an escalade. Must be nice to drive a new car, I cannot afford one. Then again if I had my groceries paid for I would have additional money in my budget.
Jul 10, 2013 9:59AM

I believe the author is nit-picking here.  It's not about the percentage of people - in Mississippi or any other state - using food stamps, it's that the government allows too many able bodied people to receive them.  I know people that COULD apply for jobs and have a good chance of getting them, but don't want to because they would lose their government assistance.  They are lazy, like so many others the government helps out. 


Then, there are the women that continue to have more children - while on assistance - because they receive more food stamps and more welfare monies  The government should have a rule - FOR EACH ADDITIONAL CHILD YOU GIVE BIRTH TO - WHILE ON FOOD STAMPS AND WELFARE - YOUR BENEFITS WILL BE CUT a certain percent.  Maybe that would stop some of the greediness shown by some people in this country. 


I don't mind giving a helping hand to those that really need it, but the government is enabling too many in this country.

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