*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
The number of households in Texas receiving food stamps has almost tripled since 2000, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2013, 1.3 million Texas households received aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — up from 505,968 in 2000. The percentage of Texas households on food stamps increased from 6.9 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2013. Nationwide, 13.5 percent of households received food stamps in 2013.
Celia Cole, CEO of the Texas Food Bank Network, said the necessity for food stamps increased significantly during the 2008 economic recession, and the high number of recipients indicates that many poor Texans are still “struggling to make ends meet.”
“I think they’re facing a harder time recovering despite overall gains in the economy” in recent years, Cole said.
SNAP provides assistance to low-income people and families through Lone Star cards that can be used like credit cards at stores that accept food stamps. In Texas, a family of four must make less than $38,868 a year to qualify.
The census data includes SNAP participation rates among Texas households in which at least one individual received SNAP benefits in the last year. Texans’ participation in the program remained stable from 2012 to 2013.