People lining up for food help at a service center in Austin, Texas (file photo)
New figures show that poverty is on the rise in the US, as the number of people receiving food stamps has soared to a record high of almost 50 million Americans.
The number of Americans who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has increased by 70 percent since 2008 to 47.8 million as of December 2012, according to recently-published figures by the Wall Street Journal
This means a staggering 15 percent of the American population is receiving food stamps, which is almost double the rate of 1975.
Looking at American children, almost half of all kids receive benefits from SNAP, including nearly 10 million who already live in extreme poverty.
According to US National Poverty Center, those living in extreme poverty are households where their income is less than USD two per person per day.
Despite previously-reported figures, which showed more people are working, the number of enrollees in the SNAP program continues to grow.
Currently, three out of every four households benefiting from the SNAP have at least one member who is working.
Last year, the US government spent a record USD 74.6 billion on the program.
The number of people receiving food stamps tends to correspond to the number of citizens living in poverty, with nearly one in six Americans living in poverty, according to the US Census Bureau.
This comes as US President Barack Obama signed a bill on March 26, making permanent USD 85 billion in sequester cuts, which will slash billions of dollars from programs helping those in poverty, including housing assistance, pre-school education, nutrition benefits, and many other such state-provided privileges..