Food stamp increase warns of rise in child poverty

A surge in food stamp use in homes with children is an early indicator that poverty rates are increasing, according to a new analysis by First Focus and the Brookings Institution.

The study analyzed increased use of nutrition assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) state by state to see where we can expect the largest increases in child poverty when official 2009 statistics are released next year by the Census Bureau.

Arkansas has the third highest child poverty rate in the nation, after Mississippi and The District of Columbia. Nearly one in four children here lives below the federal poverty level. Combined with a relatively high rate of growth of 9 percent in food stamp use in 2009, Arkansas is among 25 states that may expect higher child poverty rates for 2009, the report found.