Nationwide, nearly one in five American citizens are on food stamps. It’s a shocking number, to be sure, but it doesn’t actually reflect the true numbers of income inequality: approximately 20 million eligible Americans do not actually apply for food stamps, despite meeting the low-income requirements. According to a recent report, a full third of Ohio residents meet eligibility requirements for SNAP benefits, meaning that one in three people you find walking down the street in Ohio makes $23,340 or less per year, or $47,700 for a family of four.
So where does this gap come from? It could vary nationwide, but according to Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, it comes from a lack of funds and resources.
"Despite some indications that the economy appears to be improving slightly in some areas, the overall economic recovery is not reaching those at the lower income scales," Hamler-Fugitt told the Newark Advocate. "Unfortunately, in the new economy, the jobs that are available are low-wage, part-time, no-benefits jobs."
But Ohio is not the poorest state in the nation. States in the Deep South with higher poverty levels like Mississippi and Alabama have even higher rates.