Despite record levels of participation, Kansas remains below the national average in residents enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps.
A new fact sheet released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says 315,000 Kansans were enrolled in the program in September 2012. That is 11 percent of the state population, or 1 in 9 people.
That is up from 184,036 Kansas enrollees in 2008.
Nationally, 15 percent of the population receives SNAP benefits, or 1 in 7 people.
Food assistance has increased in Kansas and across the nation since 2000, with significant jumps in participation starting in 2008 when the country started to go into recession.
Recession conditions are inextricably linked with SNAP participation. Unemployment rates in Kansas in 2012 were also below the national average. The Kansas rate was almost two percentage points below the national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.
The report also found that when compared to the nation as a whole, Kansas has more food stamp participants that include families with children. Seventy-four percent of participants in Kansas are families with kids, which is more than 2 percentage points above than the national average.
The state also has more SNAP participants that come from working families. Fifty percent versus 41 percent of participants nationally. Kansas’s better-than-average participation rates reflect its economy.