INSTITUTE INDEX: The truth behind Gingrich's false food-stamp claims

Cross-Posted From the Institute for Southern Studies Facing South Blog

With Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich erroneously claiming that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history," we take a by-the-numbers look at the food assistance program.

Date on which Republican presidential candidate and former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich, speaking during a debate in South Carolina, claimed that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history": 1/16/2012

Number of days later that the Gingrich campaign unveiled a TV ad making the same claim: 1

Number of people who have joined the food stamp program -- known since 2008 as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP -- under President Obama: 14,200,000

Number of people who became SNAP beneficiaries under President George W. Bush: 14,700,000

Number of people added to the SNAP rolls in the 12 months before Obama took office in January 2009: 4,400,000

Percentage by which that exceeds the number added in 2007, when the economic downturn began: 300

Number by which the SNAP rolls declined in October 2011: 43,528

Number of people receiving SNAP benefits, according to the latest figures available: 46,224,722

Proportion of U.S. residents that represents: 1 in 7

Proportion of residents receiving SNAP benefits in Mississippi, the state with the highest poverty rate: 1 in 5

Under the economic stimulus bill President Obama signed in 2009, increase in monthly SNAP benefits for a family of four: $80

Income limit for a family of four to be eligible for SNAP: $29,000

Percent of SNAP beneficiaries who are white: 36

Percent who are African-American: 22

Percent who are Latino: 10

Percent who are children: 47

Percent who live in a household where someone has a job: 41

Percent of SNAP households that also received cash welfare benefits in 1990: 42

In 2010: 8

SNAP's annual cost to taxpayers: $75,000,000,000

Percentage by which that cost has increased since 2008: 200

Value of economic activity generated for every $1 spent on SNAP benefits: $1.84

(Click on figure to go to source. Image of Gingrich during the Jan. 16 GOP debate is a still from Fox News video via FactCheck.org.)

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