In December 2008, Food Stamp participation was 31,784,453 people, the highest participation level on record, and an increase of nearly 700,000 individuals from November 2008. Previously, SNAP/Food Stamp participation peaked in September 2008, when some of the 31,586,923 participants were hurricane victims getting a temporary benefit.
All states reported increases in caseloads between December 2007 and December 2008. Ten states registered over-the-prior December percentage caseload increases above 20 percent: Idaho (30.4), Utah (29.8), Florida (28.7), Nevada (28.1), Arizona (24.3), Texas (24.1), Wisconsin (22.8), Maryland (22.0), Georgia (21.2), and Massachusetts (20.2).
A weakened economy means that many more individuals are turning to SNAP/Food Stamps. Even before the latest economic crisis, more than 36.2 million people lived in U.S. households facing a constant struggle against hunger.
A food stamp recipient receives only 78 cents per meal, on average.