The Great Recession and the Not-So-Great Recovery have triggered enormous growth in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), once called Food Stamps. Unquestionably, the program has buffered the nation’s recessionary jolt and has averted food insecurity and material hardship. As of April 2011, more than 45 million persons–one in seven–are receiving SNAP benefits. With the recession officially ending in June 2009, some states–New Jersey, New Mexico, and Maryland–have seen subsequent growth rates in SNAP enrollment of more than 20 percent (for April 2010-April 2011).
Large cities are experiencing even higher SNAP growth, with year-over-year caseload increases topping 30 percent (for May 2009-May 2010) in such major metros as Houston, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Wichita.