By Kate O’Brien | 17 November 2016 06:30am US The number of Americans who are at or below the federal poverty line increased by 9.6 percent last year to 3.8 million, according to the latest numbers from the US Census Bureau.
Meanwhile, the number of food stamp recipients grew by 3.6 million in the same period, the most in over a decade.
The food stamp population, which is a proxy for people who cannot afford to buy food, rose by 3 million, to 2.2 million, the report said.
The data was released by the US Department of Agriculture, the federal government’s data arm.
The Census Bureau’s numbers are not official and may be subject to change.
The report found that the number who were poor increased by 14.6% between 2015 and 2016, while the number at the very bottom of the income scale, the 0 to 200 income bracket, decreased by 3% to 1.3 million.
“The food stamp increase was due to an increase in food stamp beneficiaries,” said Anne Thompson, director of the USDA’s Center for Food Policy and Obesity, which conducted the report.
“Food stamp beneficiaries are a much larger proportion of the population and they’re at greater risk of poverty.”
The number who are homeless rose by 14% between 2016 and 2017, while that of people in poverty decreased by 4.5%.
Both figures are lower than in previous years, but food stamp numbers have increased as the number in the poverty line has fallen.
“This increase in homelessness may be due to the recession,” Thompson said.
“If the economy was weaker, then the number would be higher.
However, the economy is strong and unemployment is low, so people are going to be able to survive on less food than they did before the recession.”
The Census reported that the US has the largest number of people living in poverty in the world.
In 2017, the US had 6.3 percent of its population living in households that earned less than $24,000 per year.
The US was followed by India at 5.4 percent, Pakistan at 5 percent, and the Philippines at 4.8 percent.
“It is not just people in poor families, but also people who are on welfare,” Thompson told the Associated Press news agency.
“When we talk about food stamps, we should really be talking about people in food-insecure households.”
In the US, about 14 million people receive food stamps.
The number is growing in some states, including New York and Illinois, where it rose by about 4.6%.
“The increase in the number is a big deal, especially when it comes to those on food stamps,” said John Holahan, executive director of Community Services Corporation of New York, which works with low-income families.
“We’ve seen a lot of changes since 2008, and it’s the beginning of a big transition for these families.”