Texas

Number of Texans using food stamps soars

Tiger Whitehead and his children Logic and Domnick, who used SNAP and the the Sustainable Food Center Farmer's Market double dollars coupons, shopping at the Farmer's Market at 2835 East MLK Blvd. in Austin on March 19, 2013.
Tiger Whitehead and his children Logic and Domnick, who used SNAP and the the Sustainable Food Center Farmer's Market double dollars coupons, shopping at the Farmer's Market at 2835 East MLK Blvd. in Austin on March 19, 2013. The Texas Tribune

The number of households in Texas receiving food stamps has almost tripled since 2000, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2013, 1.3 million Texas households received aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — up from 505,968 in 2000. The percentage of Texas households on food stamps increased from 6.9 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2013. Nationwide, 13.5 percent of households received food stamps in 2013.

Celia Cole, CEO of the Texas Food Bank Network, said that the necessity for food stamps increased significantly during the 2008 recession and that the high number of recipients indicates that many Texans are still “struggling to make ends meet.”

“I think they’re facing a harder time recovering despite overall gains in the economy” in recent years, Cole said.

SNAP helps low-income people and families through Lone Star cards that can be used like credit cards at stores that accept food stamps. In Texas, a family of four must make less than $38,868 a year to qualify.

The Census data includes SNAP participation rates among Texas households in which at least one individual received SNAP benefits in the last year. Texans’ participation in the program remained stable from 2012 to 2013.

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