Hard economic times are hitting Black children the hardest, according to a new report. Almost half of all children will be on food stamps during their youth, but an astonishing 90 percent of African-American youngsters will be on the food program for poor people, the analysis shows.
Mark Rank, the lead researcher on the study, which examined three decades of national data, told The Associated Press that virtually everybody knows somebody on food stamps or about to get on food stamps.
“Your neighbor may be using some of these programs but it’s not the kind of thing people want to talk about,” said Rank, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis.
Overall, about 49 percent of all children were on food stamps at some point by the age of 20, the analysis found. That includes 90 percent of Black children and 37 percent of Whites, writes AP.
Childhood poverty is a medical issue, and reliance on food stamps is often an indication of potential malnutrition and nutrition-related illness, according to the researchers who conducted the analysis, which is published in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
“This is a real danger sign that we as a society need to do a lot more to protect children,” Rank said.
To be eligible for food stamps, a family four must earn $22,000 per year or less. Some 28.4 Americans received food stamps during an average month last year, according the U.S. Agriculture Department. Nearly half of those recipients were under 18.