Yesterday’s post in this series highlighted a recent study from the National Poverty Center showing that the number of extremely poor families — those living on less than $2 per person a day — more than doubled between 1996 and 2011, to 1.46 million. The number of extremely poor children also doubled, to 2.8 million.
While the study’s findings are extremely troubling, they also show that SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp Program) is a powerful antidote to extreme poverty.
Counting SNAP benefits as income reduces the number of households in extreme poverty in 2011 from 1.46 million to nearly 800,000, the study found (see graph). And it reduces the number of children in extreme poverty in 2011 by half — from 2.8 million to 1.4 million.