FACT CHECK: Are There More Americans On Food Stamps Than There Are People In Canada?

Shane Devine | Fact Check Reporter

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio claimed Thursday that there are more Americans on food stamps than there are people in Canada.

“More Americans on Food Stamps than the entire population of Canada. Yet Democrats won’t support work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving your tax dollars,” he tweeted.

Verdict: True

Canada has an estimated total population of 37 million, while 40.3 million Americans used food stamps in fiscal year 2018.

Fact Check:

Jordan’s tweet linked to an article discussing the debate over the new farm bill, which includes funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

In FY 2018, 40.3 million people living in 20.1 million households participated in SNAP, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The average SNAP household received about $250 per month. The Census Bureau estimates there are currently 329 million people living in the U.S.

Canada had a population of 37.1 million as of July, according to Statistics Canada, an agency of the Canadian government.

The number of SNAP participants had been increasing steadily since the start of the 21st century, rising from an average of 17.2 million in FY 2000 to 28.2 million in FY 2008. It spiked to a high of 47.6 million in FY 2013 in the years following the Great Recession, followed by a decline as the economy continued to recover.

In its report for FY 2016, the USDA found that 82 percent of SNAP households live in or near large cities. Eighteen percent of households had gross incomes above the poverty line.

Jordan referenced a conflict over the new farm bill that centered around the House’s decision to craft legislation that would have intensified work requirements for SNAP recipients. Currently, non-disabled adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have dependents are required to work in order to be eligible for SNAP for an extended period of time.

The House bill would have expanded the work requirements to include people up to age 59 and parents with children ages 6 and older, which House Democrats unanimously opposed. In a bipartisan vote, the Senate passed its own farm bill without major changes to work requirements. Lawmakers in both chambers reached a tentative deal in November that excluded the House provisions.

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Shane Devine

Fact Check Reporter