Chart: Since Recession Food Stamp Usage Continues to Increase

May 19, 2014

A new analysis from a rural non-profit shows western Kentuckians using food stamps has continued to increase, but the region is faring better than the state as a whole.

An analysis of USDA data from the rural non-profit The Daily Yonder shows more than 17 percent of people in our region relied on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or food stamps, in 2011. That number for the state as a whole that year: more than 19 percent.

Both of those figures are higher than the national average of nearly 15 percent, a sign that Kentucky is faring a little worse than the rest of the nation.

In 2006, before the recession began around 12 percent of western Kentuckians used food stamps. In the years following the recession, nearly all counties saw an increase in SNAP benefits from year-to-year. But Carlisle, Livingston and Marshall counties deviated from that trend with slight decreases in food stamp use between 2010 and 2011. 

In 2011, the most recent year in the analysis, Fulton County had the highest percentage of SNAP usage with almost 1 in 3 people receiving food stamps. Meanwhile, Lyon County had the lowest with about 1 in 10 getting benefits. 

The Daily Yonder’s researcher, Roberto Gallardo of Mississippi State University says the most recent data that was available for the analysis was from 2011, although the 2012 records are now readily available.