Oregon Food Stamp Use Surges, Leads Nation
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
Nearly one in five Oregon residents, or 18 percent, reported using food stamps between 2009 and 2010, according to a new survey by the U.S. Census Bureau . Oregon is among a handful of states — and the only one in the West — where more than 15 percent of residents received food stamps, according to the survey. The others are Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia.
"The numbers are huge in Oregon," Gene Evans, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Social Services, tells The Oregonian of Portland . "I think everybody knows somebody who is either working fewer hours or working fewer days or lost their job. There are lots of families depending on (food stamps) to keep their kids fed."
Oregon has long been among the top states for food stamp recipients, but it surged to the top of the list last year, overtaking six other states, The Oregonian notes. The paper says the new data "jibe with other statistics showing a state that continues to suffer some of the worst effects of the recession," including persistently high unemployment and child hunger rates.
According to the survey, the states with the lowest food stamp participation rates were Wyoming (6.2 percent), New Jersey (6.8 percent) and California (7.4 percent).