The number of individuals receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps, has exceeded 45 million for 52 straight months, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture.
There were 45,464,508 beneficiaries of the food stamp program in August 2015, the latest month for which data is available. The number declined by 42,564 from July to August.
The USDA has been tracking data on participation in the program since fiscal year 1969, at which time average participation stood at about 2,800,000. This means that since then, participation in the program has increased by roughly 16-fold.
Dr. Edwin Feulner, the former president of the Heritage Foundation, says that it is troubling that participation in the food stamp program is so high despite improvements in the economy.
“Unemployment has dropped in recent years, yet still—far too many people are participating,” said Feulner. “One out of every seven Americans received SNAP benefits in 2014, and the program cost $74.1 billion, making it one of the largest means-tested welfare programs.”