In Which States Has Food-Stamp Use Increased The Most

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

In an earlier post we looked at nationwide growth in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as "food stamps." 

We found that, thanks to many years of accelerated growth in the program under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 1 in 7 Americans now participate in the food stamp program. 

There are, however, very large differences from state to state in how much the food stamp program has expanded. If we look at growth in the program from the year 2000 to 2015, we find growth varying from 641 percent growth in Nevada, to 54 percent growth in Wyoming:

Regionally, the areas of the country with the most growth are the South and West:

We can't draw an easy conclusions from this map, however, since food stamp usage can often increase with population growth. That is, it is probably not a coincidence that many of the states with the the most growth in food state usage also happens to be states with some of the highest rates of population growth:


There are some states, however, where there was very weak population growth during this time period, but food stamp usage increased considerable. In these areas, we are led to conclude that the economy worsened. For example, in Nevada during the 2000-2015 period, the population increased 44 percent, but food stamp usage increased 641 percent. In other words, food stamp usage increased 14 times more than population. By contrast, in North Dakota, food-stamp usage increased by less than five times as much as population. 

As explored in this article, median income growth has varied considerably from state to state. In many cases, the states most heavily impacted by declining median incomes were states in the Great Lakes region, including Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. 

If we look at food stamp growth compared to population growth, we get the following scatter graph: 

From 2000-2015, all states experienced at least some population growth, except Michigan. Not surprisingly, Nevada, which experienced the highest rate of population growth, also experienced the highest rate of food stamp growth. 

However, Nevada's growth in food stamps was much higher than we'd expect, given the food-stamp growth rates in other states. 

We can get a sense of whether or not food-stamp growth was typical or atypical if we insert a trend line. Given the population growth for each state, those states that fall above the trend line experienced a larger-than-expected growth in food stamps, while those states below the trend line experienced less growth in food stamps that would be expected. 

The reasons for a state having an especially large growth rate in food stamps can include any number of things. However, many of the states that were found to have dropping median incomes over this period also show up as having higher-than-expected growth in food stamps. This is especially noticeable with Wisconsin and Nevada. Also included in this group are Florida and Michigan, while Pennsylvania and Ohio are both slightly above the trend line. 

And, it may also not be a coincidence that Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio were all states that flipped in the electoral college from Obama to Trump in the 2016 election. Indeed, as Yahoo News reported today, black voters in Milwaukee, many of whom are suffering economically, may have been an important factor in Hillary Clinton's defeat in Wisconsin. 

By itself, food stamp usage predicts nothing in terms of elections, of course, since ideology, demographics, and other factors matter as well. Nevertheless, we do see here additional information that lends itself to the idea that the so-called "flyover states" continue to be overlooked in terms of national economic analysis. 

While the national economic news may continue to show growth and relatively low unemployment numbers, there continues to be many areas of the United States where economic growth and income growth are behaving contrary to the trends found in the nation at large.

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TeMpTeK's picture

Ebt EbT.. Ima swipe my EbT

Takeaction2's picture
Takeaction2 (not verified) TeMpTeK Nov 22, 2016 6:41 PM

Yep...Here in Oregon...and Washington you can use your EBT card for cash to play at the Casinos...

Where do I get my players card??


USisCorrupt's picture

Harry Ried does good work for Nevada.

What a POS !

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

After Intel and HP lay off tons of people, so that the execs bonuses keep coming, and vulture capitalists like Romney suck out the blood of a company, you and other working schlepps are expected to pick up the slack and "Give".

Give charity and soup kitchens. So that TPTB and TBTJ won't have to.

My view is that unless the affected person is a close friend or Family, I will not give to Charity. If the pain gets serious enough, let them take their pain and desperation to the streets and FORCE the issue.

At the end of the day, this level and extent poverty is DIRECTLY due to chronic unemployment -- which is a direct consequence of corporate governance and government policies toward employment and taxation.

panhead20's picture

For the most part, fly overs states have a much higher food stamp usage than the coast states.


nufio's picture

why was that post downvoted? Every bullshit metric but overall % on foodstamps per state was not provided.

% increases are a total bullshit metric. WTF.

if there was 1 person on foodstamp in a population of a billion and next year there is a 1000. That is 100000% increase. So what?


SallySnyd's picture

 Here is an article that looks at the interesting relationship between wealth and longevity in the United States:


mkhs's picture

Do you have information about reptilian oligarchs and life-span?

nmewn's picture

Fattest, poor people on the planet.

swmnguy's picture

That's because decent food costs more than garbage made out of fat, sugar, salt, starch, and a chemistry set.  Most of these fat poor people we see are also very malnourished and incredibly unhealthy.

Syrin's picture

Modern day food is high in calories and low on nutrients.

richsob's picture

I saw a fat millennial chick with piercings all over her face yesterday using an EBT card at a Starbucks.  Starbucks!  I am beginning to hate those fucking people.

jmack's picture

I have hated starbucks for a long time.

uhland62's picture

Ha, ha - here in South Australia there was one and they had intentions to expand. People didn't take that up here (why?) and it closed. No starbucks in Adelaide or South Australia. 

pc_babe's picture

You hate Fat Millennials or Starbucks?

Golden Showers's picture

Jeezus, H. Christ, I know. I fucking hate Starbucks Baristas, too.

I just go to Barnes and Nobles and throw up in my mouth watching some seriously anorexic stick girl in short shorts is in line with her boyfriend and he tries to force feed her a xxx chocolate brownie.

I'm all, Dayum!

Except when I see your Amelda Marcos or whatever the fuck avatar and projectile vomit.

You, sir, are a sick fuck. I appreciate you. Now eat my pussy.

swmnguy's picture

Pretty sure that's Kim Jong Il.  Wearing lipstick, by the look of him. No doubt Dennis Rodman would approve.

Nobodys Home's picture

She probably paid for the piercings with food bought with her ebt card.

cheech_wizard's picture

That is what the dumpster out back is for. Urban/suburban body disposal...


Stan Smith's picture

Interesting stuff.   Im not exactly sure what it tells me.    One thing I see from this is that the Northeastern states are clearing out.

Stan Smith's picture

It does appear that there's not a Red/Blue , Right/Left correlation either.    That surprises me a little, but not a lot.

RopeADope's picture

It tracks immigration increases by state.

A good friend who came from Mexico back in the 80s said that the new waves are lending out their kids to each other when they go in to get benefits, making the families look larger on paper than they actually are.

Bobbyrib's picture

I live in the northeast, a lot more people need to leave to make it tolerable.

Zepper's picture

If you cant afford em... dont fucking have em... not other peoples problem to take care of your brewd. Nice illistration of those that are having them cant fucking afford them.


This is why I keep coming here, for the great analysis 

Still Losing Money's picture

and what am I supposed to do if my job is shipped overseas when my kids are 5, 6 or 7 shove back inside? shoot 'em? 

look at the analysis, these people are on SNAP cause JOBS ARE DISAPPEARING AND WAGES ARE DECINING, not because they are lazy and having kids they can't afford..

are there some sponges, yes, but the growth in SNAP is due to Obama's destruction of the middle class not mooches, dumbass

swmnguy's picture

And the fallout from exporting manufacturing, coupled with the housing boom/bust.  That's Nevada.  All those people moved to Las Vegas to work in the casinos, just in time for the crash and then they're stuck there, no job or money, and in the middle of a sinking shithole in the middle of the desert.

Osmium's picture

I have no idea what you are talking about.  Just look at the stock market at all time highs.  Everything is FANTASTIC!!!



OT: where the hell has yoga pants been? Really missing that avatar.

mkhs's picture

"sinking shithole in the middle of the desert."


Why do you have to insult stinking shitholes?

Nobodys Home's picture

The undocumented and illegal aliens get them too. How many million are there?

any_mouse's picture

Jobs were going back in the mid 90's. Thank Clinton, Bush II, as well as Obama, ah hell, blame GHWB, just because yesterday was 11/22. Thank the entire Congress for the last two decades. Thank both political parties. Thank Wall Street. Thank the major corporations.

Real wages have been flat since the Gold standard went bye bye. Those who own assets are richer. Hourly workers are poorer due to inflation.

The dollar was destroyed by the Federal Reserve Corporation.

You need to get way more anger.


Stan Smith's picture

I'd also mention, that there seems to be broad swath of things that EBT cards end up being used for.    It should be groceries and groceries only in my opinion.    Im willing to move off that position,  but it strikes me that was the intended use when all of this started, and thats pretty much it should be used for.   

Im not good with someone buying a latte from Starbucks with it.    Buying ground coffee from the grocery store is a different story.

I'd be curious if anyone here has good data on this, or even links with some of the abuses of this program.   

Moe Howard's picture

Story today on CNS about food stamps.

Number one purchase by dollars spent:



whip_sawed's picture

Food Politics:

Congress allows these items:

Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are therefore eligible items.



Yup, its called lets pretend we give a shit about these losers, then hopefully theyll vote for us so we can maintain our position of power at the tax payers expense. Bush2 really put this concept into high gear, aka buying votes. Dont make the hispanics mad, or no reelection for you.

flaminratzazz's picture

The first stamps I ever seen was years ago when I was logging in Idaho. Hippies (long haired freaks living in the woods) would buy steak for their dogs because they couldn't buy dog food. It kinda hit the nerve when a guy busted his ass all week and could barely afford burger watches the stamp rat feeding steak to his mongrel outside the Safeway.


Youtube dude. Lots of videos showing ebt vultures going to sams or whatever bigbox store, loading up on cheap soda and chips, then taking it to their bodega corner store and selling it "legitimately" and making 5 or 6 hundred % profits. Thats what they do.

Golden Showers's picture

Wow. I just love seeing how a country blossoms from socialist to communist.

It's... It's... Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Ms No's picture

So anywhere where the population has been increasing since 2000 also has a massive increase in foodstamp usage.  What was that saying again?  You can have open borders or a welfare state?  It looks like somebody chose open borders.

alexcojones's picture

Say I live in Las Vegas, with a GAMBLING HABIT.

Get food stamps, trade them for $$$.

No wonder they are up 600%

pc_babe's picture

% Growth is meaningless ... absolute dollars spent / population = the per capita bribe.