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The New Face of Food Stamps: Working-Age Americans

Maggie Barcellano prepares dinner at her father's house in Austin, Texa. Barcellano, who lives with her father, enrolled in the food stamps program to help save up for paramedic training while she works as a home health aide and raises her three-year-old daughter.  (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)

The New Face of Food Stamps: Working-Age Americans

In a first, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps — a switch from a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.

Some of the change is due to demographics, such as the trend toward having fewer children. But a slow economic recovery with high unemployment, stagnant wages and an increasing gulf between low-wage and high-skill jobs also plays a big role. It suggests that government spending on the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program — twice what it cost five years ago — may not subside significantly anytime soon.

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