In summer 1993, there were 36 million mothers of childbearing ages (15 to 44 years old) living in the United States; 5.3 million of them (15 percent) were receiving food stamps to help them purchase food to provide a nutritionally adequate diet for their 13.7 million children.
(The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service estimates that, all in all, 27 million Americans participated in the food stamps program in an average month in 1993. This total includes men, women, and their dependent children.)
SB/95-22 Issued August 1995 U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration BUREAU OF THE CENSUS
About one-half of mothers aged 15 to 44 on food stamps also received Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC); another one-tenth were enrolled in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). In addition, 1 in 6 participated in all three programs. About one-quarter of these recipients did not participate in AFDC or WIC payments. (See chart, front.)
Food stamp mothers are younger ...
On average, mothers aged 15 to 44 receiving food stamps were 30 years old; those in this age group not receiving them were 34. (See table.) Four percent of mothers on food stamps were teenagers; less than 1 percent were under 18 years old.
... begin childbearing at earlier ages ...
Food stamp mothers were younger than nonfood stamp mothers when they gave birth for the first time (on average, 20 and 23 years old, respectively). (See table.) In fact, 27 percent of mothers on food stamps had their first birth before they turned 18 years old; the same was true for 15 percent of nonfood stamp mothers. (See chart, front.)
... and have more children.
Mothers receiving food stamps had an average of 2.6 children each; nonfood stamp mothers averaged 2.1. (See table.) Two in every three mothers on food stamps had their first birth out-of- wedlock, compared with about 1 in 4 who were not on food stamps. (See chart, right.) Nonetheless, the 8 million mothers not getting food stamps whose first birth was out-of-wedlock was more than all 5.3 million mothers on food stamps.
The chances of receiving food stamps differ by the race, ethnicity, and nativity of the mother.
About 4 in 10 food stamp mothers have never been married.
About 2.1 million (or 39 percent) of the Nation's 5.3 million mothers receiving food stamps had never been married. These never-married mothers had an average of 2.3 children each.
A similar proportion of food stamp mothers (38 percent or 2 million) were currently married. They had an average of 2.8 children each. Over half of these women (1.1 million) had their husband present in the household, while the remaining 906,000 were either separated or had absent husbands.
The remaining 23 percent of mothers receiving food stamps were either widowed or divorced. (See table.)
About 4 in 10 food stamp mothers do not have a high school diploma.
A similar proportion of food stamp mothers (40 percent) had completed high school (but did not attend college) and another 19 percent had attended college for at least 1 year.
About 1 in 8 food stamp mothers were currently enrolled in school; these women, on average, had 2.2 children each and were 29 years old. (See table.)
Only 7 percent of these students were teenagers; this suggests that a large proportion of mothers on food stamps who are enrolled in school are trying to resume their education while attempting to provide a minimum level of nutrition for their families.
Most mothers on food stamps are jobless ...
Unlike mothers not receiving food stamps, most food stamp mothers (78 percent) did not have a job during the month preceding the survey. On average, jobless food stamp mothers supported 2.6 children each, no more than food stamp mothers who had a job. (See table.)
... and have very low family incomes.
Of those mothers who reported having family income, about two- thirds who were on food stamps lived in families with monthly incomes of less than $1,000; these low-income mothers supported an average of 2.6 children each. In contrast, 8 percent of nonfood stamp mothers lived in families with similar incomes; low-income mothers who were not on food stamps had an average of 2.2 children each. Three in every four food stamp mothers were below the poverty level, supporting about 10.7 million children. (See table.)
One-half of food stamp mothers reside in central cities ...
Food stamp and nonfood stamp mothers were equally apt to live in metropolitan areas (77 percent). But while food stamp mothers were twice as likely to live in central cities as in suburbs (52 percent versus 25 percent), nonfood stamp mothers were twice as likely to live in suburbs as in central cities (51 percent compared with 26 percent). (See table.)
... and about 1 in 5 live in the East North Central Division.
The East North Central Division consists of five States: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. It was home to 1 million food stamp mothers - the highest total of the Nation's nine divisions.
About this series of Briefs
This is the second in a series of three Statistical Briefs on mothers of childbearing ages who participated in welfare programs designed to assist families needing economic support to provide basic nutrition for themselves and their children. The first Brief, Mothers Who Receive AFDC Payments - Fertility and Socioeconomic Characteristics (SB/95-2), was released in March 1995. The final Brief, to be issued later this year, will focus on mothers in the WIC program. The data in these Briefs were collected in the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) between June and September 1993.
Food Stamp and AFDC mothers -
Amara Bachu (phone: 301-457-2449;
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) or
Martin O'Connell (phone:
301-457-2416; e-mail: moconnel
Statistical Briefs -
Survey design -
This Brief is one of a series that presents information of
current policy interest. It may include data from businesses,
households, or other sources. All statistics are subject to
sampling variability, as well as survey design flaws, respondent
classification errors, and data processing mistakes. The Census
Bureau has taken steps to minimize errors, and analytical
statements have been tested and meet statistical standards.
However, because of methodological differences, use caution when
comparing these data with data from other sources. For
information on the source of data and the accuracy of estimates,
including the use and computation of standard errors, see the
"Source and Accuracy Statement for the 1993 Public Use Files from
the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)."
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Last Revised: October 31, 2011 at 10:07:04 PM