More bad health care news: Half of American kids will use food stamps


In November, the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine published an article stating that, over the past thirty years, nearly half of all American children have been on food stamps at one time or another. The authors of the article, Mark R. Rank and Thomas A. Hirschl, are sociology professors at Washington University in St. Louis and Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., respectively. Their findings were based on the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a long-term survey that has studied 9,000 "representative" American families from 1968 to the present day. Of the children analyzed by the study, 49 percent were on food stamps for at least part of their childhood. Ninety percent of black children and 37 percent of white children in the study used the program.

The Rank/Hirschl analysis undermines some powerful stereotypes about food stamps. While the families in the program were ethnically diverse, the long-term nature of the study automatically weeds out the waves of immigrants that, many critics claim, feed their families at the cost of American taxpayers.