To Eat And Survive In LA: On Track For A Million Food Stamp Users

Los Angeles County food stamp users are now on track to reach the 1,000,000 mark by later this year.

After the California housing market cracked in 2006, and leading into the financial crisis of 2007-2008, LA County food stamp recipients were registering at the 625,000 level in the Spring of 2008. March 2011 shows that 967,301 persons are now in the program in LA County.

The last three years therefore has seen 50% growth in those needing help from the (SNAP) —Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Given monthly growth rates, still at 1-2%, we should see the one million mark hit sometime this Autumn. | see: Los Angeles County SNAP Users vs the Price of Oil 2007-2011.


This blog has tracked continually the lack of economic recovery in California. In particular, the fact that new lows in total employment were just recorded in November/December of 2010 suggests, along with other data on wages and the housing market, that California has recently face renewed recession risk. As you can see, there has been no slowdown in the growth of SNAP users in LA County. (I also track the other large population counties in California, and results are either similar or worse).

As always, the data emanating from the country’s most economically important state–starting in Q4 of 2010–was a warning for the country as a whole. Indeed, as national numbers on manufacturing, car sales, housing and consumption are currently turning downward the Golden State once again looks to have been a reliable harbinger of things to come.


Data Note: the one month downtick recorded in February of 2011, seen on the green line, is likely a data abnormality that will eventually be corrected. It is either a data gathering error, or, is an anomaly of the SNAP program data as it changes over to a new calendar year.


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