People tend to have a certain image of what someone on food stamps looks like, and it’s often rooted in baseless stereotypes and various -isms. But this isn’t true, and we’ll take a look at the different faces that belong to food stamps.
The Oneida Daily Dispatch has reported that nationally, 28 percent of SNAP recipients have had some college education, with an exact percent not even having graduated from high school. Although these numbers would vary a bit from state to state, it’s a sobering statistic that shows education level—or lack of it—isn’t a qualification for food stamps.
One of the biggest reasons for this is that about a generation ago, manufacturing jobs paid well and didn’t require much education. Those jobs disappeared, leaving a mass of workers left scrambling for any type of job, and the remaining jobs doled out to educated workers based on the belief that their extra training meant they’d be better workers.
The Pew Research Center conducted a study to see who food stamps users are based on race, and there are both surprises and not.
Black people make up 31 percent of SNAP users, followed by Hispanics (22 percent), “other” non-Hispanic (18 percent), and whites (15 percent). But instead of looking at this from the perspective that race has something to do with being on food stamps, it might be smarter to examine why more people of minorities find themselves in situations needing food stamps than whites. What privileges are afforded to whites that keep their heads above water that minorities don’t get?
By far, the biggest political divide in the United States is between Democrats and Republicans, and the line has only gotten sharper in recent history. The same Pew Research Center study shows 22 percent of Democrats are on food stamps, compared with 10 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Independents.
Interestingly, though, when party labels are erased from the conversation and SNAP users are analyzed based on general political beliefs, the demographics shift quite dramatically. Conservatives, Moderates, and Liberals each have 17 percent of their adherents on food stamps.
Forbes has very neatly broken down how old food stamps recipients are:
Elderly (60+): 8 percentDisabled non-elderly: 19.8 percentNon-disabled childless adult (18-49): 23.6 percentChildren: 48.7 percent
With one of the most common stereotypes of the typical food stamps user being an unemployed minority with a bunch of children, the aforementioned breakdowns show that quite the opposite is the case.