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Top 10 States With the Highest Food Stamp Usage

Grocery store that accepts food stamps

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, is administered by the USDA with a core mission to help families without enough to eat. Even though the unemployment rate has gone down recently, there are still millions of people without enough money to feed their families. Here are the 10 states with the highest food stamp usage, listed from number 1 to 10.

New Mexico

Number of people on food stamps: 463,107 Percentage of population: 20.2% An unemployment rate almost twice the national average, 6.1%, leaves 1 in 5 of New Mexico’s residents struggling to put food on the table.


Number of people on food stamps: 891,796 Percentage of population: 19.05% The state Senate passed a bill that makes drug felons eligible for SNAP benefits - a move that increases the number of people in the program.

West Virginia

Number of people on food stamps: 334,464 Percentage of population: 18.2% As with many other states on the list, high unemployment directly correlates with the number of families on food stamps.

District of Columbia

Number of people on food stamps: 123,036 Percentage of population: 18.06% The nation’s capital is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. It comes as no surprise that a high cost of living combined with high unemployment makes it hard to afford food here.


Number of people on food stamps: 725,588 Percentage of population: 17.7% In 2013, the number of food stamp recipients outpaced the number of public school students.


Number of people on food stamps: 528,500 Percentage of population: 17.6% Often ranked the poorest state in the Union, Mississippi stays toward the top of food stamp use.


Number of people on food stamps: 793,146 Percentage of population: 16.3% The southeastern part of the country, including Alabama, has a large population of rural, poor, and food stamp recipients.


Number of people on food stamps: 1,606,489 Percentage of population: 15.5% Joining its neighbors, Georgia has over 1.6 million people that have trouble feeding their families.


Number of people on food stamps: 1,034,396 Percentage of population: 15.5% A steady decline in the unemployment rate has not led to a decrease of people in need in this state.


Number of people on food stamps: 146,831 Percentage of population: 15.4% Despite following the national trend of a lower unemployment in this state, the number of people on food stamps has not followed suit.

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