A new study out of Oregon State University shows the recession has driven many formerly middle class Oregonians into poverty.
The study found an unprecedented increase in first time food stamp recipients, particularly among adult men.
Statistically speaking, take any 5 people in a supermarket checkout line in Oregon and at least one of them is likely to be enrolled in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SNAP program.
That’s the new name for food stamps.
Researcher Suzanne Porter says while households headed by single women still make up the majority of SNAP beneficiaries, the number of adult men increased by 73 percent between 2005 and 2009.
Suzanne Porter: “We’d been hearing from the case managers that they were seeing all kind of people that used to be middle class or who had never been poor before. So we knew it was happening. But this enabled us to measure it a little bit to get the magnitude.”
Porter says in 2009 there were 82,000 households applying for SNAP benefits in Oregon that had no record of ever applying for the program previously.