Despite economic improvement, food stamp use high - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Despite economic improvement, food stamp use high

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU and WASHINGTON (HawaiiNewsNow) - More Hawaii residents use food stamps today than a year ago - almost 12 percent of the population - and even that is below the national average, federal statistics show.

Hawaii has a population of 1,367,000 and more than 135,500 food stamp recipients, which works out to 11.6 percent usage. The national rate of usage appears to have leveled off around 14 percent, or one in seven Americans.

California has 37 million on food stamps, about 10 percent of its population. Nevada has risen to 12 percent. Washington state is at 15 percent. Oregon has 20 percent food stamp usage, one in five residents, tied with Mississippi for highest in the nation.

The figures come from data from February, the most recent to be released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While food stamp usage is reported regularly, this latest report is likely to generate debate among policy makers nationwide after being featured in the Wall Street Journal.

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