14% of Americans are on Food Stamps

Here's a statistic to go along with the unemmployment report. 14% of Americans are on food stamps with a 17% increase in one year. That's 42,389,619 people.

Idaho had a 38.8% yearly increase in food stamp use for the year. No state had a decrease.

The Wall Street Journal broke down the percentages of State populations on food stamps. By the way, the government calls this the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, which of course is nice and nondescript.

The district of Columbia has 21.7% of it's population on food stamps. Mississippi has 20.1% of it's population on food stamps. Tennessee, 20% and Oregon is 19.2%.

People are so desperate kids are coming in for school lunch, while school is out:

Even during the summer children returned to schools to take advantage of free lunch programs where they were available. Nearly 195 million lunches were dished out in August and 58.9% of them were free. Another 8.4% were available at reduced prices. That number will surge when the fall data are released because children will be back in school. Last September, for example, more than 590 million lunches were served, nearly 64% of which were free or reduced price.

Poverty Hits Record for 2009, 1 in 7 Americans are Flat Broke

The United States is looking at record poverty rates for 2009, according to the Associated Press. AP interviewed demographers, for information on an upcoming Census report, to be released this Thursday. 1 in 7 Americans lives in poverty, something not seen since the early 1960's.

Interviews with six demographers who closely track poverty trends found wide consensus that 2009 figures are likely to show a significant rate increase to the range of 14.7 percent to 15 percent.

Should those estimates hold true, some 45 million people in this country, or more than 1 in 7, were poor last year. It would be the highest single-year increase since the government began calculating poverty figures in 1959. The previous high was in 1980 when the rate jumped 1.3 percentage points to 13 percent during the energy crisis.

Among the 18-64 working-age population, the demographers expect a rise beyond 12.4 percent, up from 11.7 percent. That would make it the highest since at least 1965, when another Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson, launched the war on poverty that expanded the federal government's role in social welfare programs from education to health care.

Demographers also are confident the report will show:

_Child poverty increased from 19 percent to more than 20 percent.

_Blacks and Latinos were disproportionately hit, based on their higher rates of unemployment.

The New York Times notices labor arbitrage

Wow. The New York Times, through personal stories notices America is creating the new poor:

Economists fear that the nascent recovery will leave more people behind than in past recessions, failing to create jobs in sufficient numbers to absorb the record-setting ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come.

Yet the social safety net is already showing severe strains. Roughly 2.7 million jobless people will lose their unemployment check before the end of April unless Congress approves the Obama administration’s proposal to extend the payments, according to the Labor Department.

Vampire Economics?

This story caught my eye. The New York Times outlines how each blood donation, paid out at $30 a pop, generates $300 in pharmaceutical products.

Blood donation centers concentrate in extremely poor areas, with high health issues including drug addiction.

So, get this, Mexicans are crossing the border twice a week to donate blood, to earn $60 a week. It's more money than what they can make on wages in Mexico!

Twice a week, Ms. Delgado, the mother of three young girls, walks across the bridge from Piedras Negras, Mexico, where she lives, to Eagle Pass and enters a building just two blocks from the border.

Inside, for about an hour, Ms. Delgado lies hooked to a machine that extracts plasma, the liquid part of the blood, from a vein in her arm. The $60 a week she is paid almost equals her husband’s earnings.

“This is like another income,” she says.

Student Debt up 25% from a year ago, while 33% of workers below age 35 live with parents

From the Wall Street Journal:

Students are borrowing dramatically more to pay for college, accelerating a trend that has wide-ranging implications for a generation of young people.

New numbers from the U.S. Education Department show that federal student-loan disbursements—the total amount borrowed by students and received by schools—in the 2008-09 academic year grew about 25% over the previous year, to $75.1 billion. The amount of money students borrow has long been on the rise. But last year far surpassed past increases, which ranged from as low as 1.7% in the 1998-99 school year to almost 17% in 1994-95, according to figures used in President Barack Obama's proposed 2010 budget.

People in poverty increased at least 12.7% in 2008

The Huffington Post has a story, Number Of Poor In U.S. Likely Increased By 1.5M Last Year:

The ranks of poor and uninsured Americans are likely increasing – with more than 38.8 million believed to be in poverty.

The current U.S. population is estimated to be 307 million.

Rebecca Blank, the Commerce Department's undersecretary of economic affairs, spoke to The Associated Press in advance of next month's closely watched release of 2008 census data. Noting the figures are not yet final, Blank said the numbers likely will show a "statistically significant" increase in the poverty rate, to at least 12.7 percent. That would represent a jump of more than 1.5 million poor people compared with the previous year.