in Houston, Texas
Texans received $6 billion in food stamp benefits last year, 4 million on program
Friday, Jan 11, 2013, 10:53AM CST
By Mark Lisheron

More than 4 million Texans - the greatest number of any state in the country - spent $6 billion last year through the federal food stamp program.

In an average month in 2012, 46.6 million Americans used food stamps at a cost for the year of $74.6 billion, according to new data released Thursday on the website.

The website is run by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a Menlo Park, Calif., nonprofit specializing in national and international health care policy.

Texas ranked second among the states in the amount spent on food stamp purchases, the abuse of which Texas Watchdog has helped uncover. California spent the most, $7.1 billion.

You can find the entire ranking of food stamp spending here.

California ranked just behind Texas in the number of people - 3.96 million people on average, who took advantage of the program last year. Florida served 3.4 million people; New York, 3.1 million; Georgia, 1.9 million; Illinois, 1.87 million; Michigan, 1.83 million; Ohio, 1.81 million; Pennsylvania, 1.8 million and North Carolina, 1.7 million.

You can find all the states’ monthly food stamp participation figures here.

And while Texas ranked first in the number of people enrolled, its average of one in six people enrolled in food stamps was comparable to all but California among the 10 biggest food stamp states.

California, with one in nine people enrolled, had a lower participation rate than all but two of the states with the lowest total enrollments. Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming had fewer than 100,000 food stamp recipients. At an average of 34,347 people, Wyoming had one person using food stamps for every 16 residents in the state. (Explore the map below in a larger view.)

food stamp key 

Texas was also among the top 10 states in the percentage of its population, 23 percent, below the federally set poverty level in 2011, according to new data here.

The national average is 20 percent below an annual income of $11,170 for an individual and $23,050 for a household of four people. New Mexico and Louisiana had the highest levels of poverty, 27 percent; Mississippi and the District of Columbia, 25 percent; California, Hawaii and South Carolina at 24 percent; and Arizona, Georgia and Texas at 23 percent.

New Hampshire had the lowest rate of poverty in the country at 10 percent, followed by Minnesota at 13 percent and Connecticut, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming at 14 percent.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog. Graphics by Lee Ann O'Neal.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also 
on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Image of a Lone Star Card via the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

taxed enough
Friday, 01/11/2013 - 05:14PM

Food Stamps - the new unearned money. The only way you can get some is by not earning it.

Monday, 01/14/2013 - 04:48PM

"The only way you can get some is by not earning it."

Or, if you own a grocery store and then you see food stamps pumping an extra $6 billion per year into your industry's coffers statewide. That's a lot of groceries, a lot of extra consumer demand, not to mention a lot of extra jobs, in addition to buying food for folks. And unlike trickle down schemes, everybody spends all of it, quickly, so the economic impact is both significant and immediate.

Support for Texas Citizens
Thursday, 01/24/2013 - 02:24PM

Is there enough documentation that the Citizens and legals (confirmed Green Card Holder, etc.) are the benefactors of our tax dollars? Through confirmation of Green Cards, etc. are the illegals being sent home? With today's internet capabilities, we should be able to confirm all illegals and promptly send them home. NO DRIVERS LICENCES FOR ILLEGALS! ! ! ! ! ! ! (they never carry insurance) It is the FIRST step to getting access to our tax dollars.

TX Citizen
Friday, 02/01/2013 - 04:45AM

Absolutely right, but this all starts with the government.

Karen Townsend | 7 years 9 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" -
Peter Corbett ✈ | 7 years 9 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy
KERA Public Media | 7 years 9 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour.
PBS MediaShift | 7 years 9 months
Tech Snafus Make Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart 'Rumble' More of a Stumble (@kegill | @pbsmediashift) #rumble2012
Will Sullivan | 7 years 9 months
Great addition, been burned too much by bad subs. "Google Play Announces Free Trials For In-App Subscription Services"
TxDOT | 7 years 9 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact
© 2019 TEXAS WATCHDOG and USELABS. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement