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States where food stamps are used the most

  • #10. Mississippi

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 18.7%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 207,204
    - Average benefit per household: $239.03 (#24 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 19.7% (#1 highest among all states)

    For years, Mississippi has had the nation's highest poverty rate. The difference in child poverty among black and white children in Mississippi is startling: 46% of black children compared to 15% of white children. Last year, the state finally made drug felons eligible for food stamps.

  • #9. Florida

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 19.2%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 1,500,656
    - Average benefit per household: $217.25 (#37 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 13.6% (#17 highest among all states)

    As Florida supplies food stamps to over 1.5 million residents, the state is closing offices that help people sign up for benefits. Still, the poverty rate in Florida is slowly dipping with many food banks throughout the state.

  • #8. Nevada

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 19.7%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 222,216
    - Average benefit per household: $216.84 (#38 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 12.9% (#23 highest among all states)

    Unemployment is down, the poverty rate is decreasing, and the number of residents earning more than $100,00 is growing. Still, Nevada is one of the West's leading suppliers of food stamps and has a 12.4% food insecurity rate.

  • #7. New York

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 20.1%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 1,481,195
    - Average benefit per household: $237.51 (#26 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 13.6% (#17 highest among all states)

    In 2018, 34% of New York City's food pantries and kitchens had to turn people away, reduce portions, or limit operating hours. In the Bronx, over one in four residents experience food insecurity, even as the city's poverty rate is reportedly reaching historic lows. Organizations like City Harvest attempt to combat these issues and more.

  • #6. Oregon

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 21.1%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 345,676
    - Average benefit per household: $209.88 (#42 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 12.6% (#26 highest among all states)

    In Oregon, about 553,000 resident Oregonians are food insecure, with almost 200,000 of those being children. The Oregon Food Bank operates 21 regional banks and 1,200 food assistance sites. Almost 19,000 Oregon residents could lose food stamps under new federal guidelines.

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  • #5. Louisiana

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 21.4%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 371,381
    - Average benefit per household: $268.49 (#4 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 18.6% (#3 highest among all states)

    Almost 5% of Louisiana households skip meals because they lack money to buy food. Some reports list Louisiana as the second-worst state for seniors at risk of hunger. Louisiana is also one of the slowest growing states for personal income and has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates.

  • #4. Rhode Island

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 21.9%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 89,192
    - Average benefit per household: $223.40 (#35 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 12.9% (#23 highest among all states)

    Rhode Island has a thriving economy, but food insecurity is growing amid rising costs of living. In recent years, Rhode Island's Asian, black, and Hispanic children live in higher rates of poverty compared to the national average. Dozens of pantries and meal sites help reduce the number of hungry people in Rhode Island.

  • #3. West Virginia

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 22%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 161,612
    - Average benefit per household: $205.10 (#46 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 17.8% (#4 highest among all states)

    Years ago, West Virginia implemented tougher work requirements for food stamps, but The New York Times recently reported that it did not lead to increased levels of employment. Almost 15% of West Virginia households are food insecure.

  • #2. District of Columbia

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 22.8%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 65,410
    - Average benefit per household: $216.80 (#39 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 16.2% (#8 highest among all states)

    Seniors and children in the D.C. area are especially affected by food insecurity. Organizations like D.C. Hunger Solutions work to combat the problem, and there are local plans to increase spending on D.C. students.

  • #1. New Mexico

    - Percent of households receiving food stamps: 28.1%
    - Total households receiving food stamps: 223,019
    - Average benefit per household: $238.06 (#25 highest among all states)
    - Poverty rate: 19.5% (#2 highest among all states)

    New Mexico has the nation's highest food insecurity rate at 17.9%. About one in four children are at risk of going hungry, and a high rate of working adults suffer food insecurity. The Public Policy Advocacy Committee of The Food Depot, a food bank in northern New Mexico, recently asked legislators to complete six steps to combat food insecurity problems in the state, including doubling a budget to $500,000 for food banks to purchase more shelf-stable items and appropriating $3.7 million for food stamp recipients to be affected by new federal mandates.

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