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17% of Arizonans on food stamps

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17% of Arizonans on food stamps

  • Vintage food stamps. SNAP benefits are now used with a payment card.
    NCReedplayer/FlickrVintage food stamps. SNAP benefits are now used with a payment card.

More than 1.1 million Arizona residents—more than 17 percent of the state's population—are receiving food assistance from the government.

1,123,333 Arizonans are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a jump of 7.2 percent over the past year. That's 17.5 percent of the state's residents, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Arizona recipients receive $200 monthly for a single-person household. An eligible family of four receives $668 from the state's Healthy Nutrition program, Arizona's implementation of SNAP.

Almost 12 percent of households nationwide are receiving food stamps, the Census Bureau said Thursday. Recent data from the Agriculture Department, which runs the program, show that up to 15 percent of households in the country may be on SNAP.

Nationally, the number on food stamp rolls rose 8.1 percent over the past year.

A combination of an increase in benefits, a change in eligibility requirements, and the worsening economy mean SNAP cast twice as much in 2010 as it did in 2007, before the recession hit home, an Agriculture report said.

The economic downturn alone would account for an 18-percent increase in food stamp recipients.

The state with the largest percentage on food relief: Oregon, with 18 percent of its population on SNAP. Louisiana, New Mexico and Tennessee each have one in five residents on food stamps.

Nevada, Idaho and Rhode Island had the greatest increases in the rate of food stamp use.

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