Apropos of last week’s post on the sudden surge in food stamp enrollment in Washington state, WWU professor and blogger Scott Miles has an interesting take.
To recap: an article in The New York Times had suggested that Washington’s worst-in-nation, 25% increase in food stamp enrollment last year was largely the result of severe December flooding.
But Scott’s combed through the numbers a bit, and has concluded that there simply aren’t enough people in the flood-ravaged counties to account for the surge in food stamp participation.
My estimate is that the disaster represents 20 to 40% of the increase. So even without out the December 2007 floods, the State of Washington still had the greatest increase in FSP enrollment in the country between 2006 and 2007.
I haven’t vetted Scott’s numbers, and there may well be more to this story; in fact, there’s already been a bit of back-and-forth on Scott’s blog about his figures, since enrollment standards were apparently loosened in more-populous King and Snohomish counties, too.
Regardless about how the final numbers turn out, though, it’s important to remember that there’s been plenty of economic hardship in the state, even without the foul weather.
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