Spending habits of families receiving public aid vs. families who do not

Published: Thursday, Dec. 19 2013 9:58 p.m. MST

A volunteer, right, at St. Ignatius Food Pantry bags items as Larry Bossom, 41, who lost his job a few month ago, visits the facility Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, in Chicago. Bossom is relying on food stamps and the food bank to help him until he finds work again. More than 2 million low-income Illinois residents who receive food stamps will soon see their benefits cut. Beginning Friday, a temporary increase in food stamp dollars from the 2009 economic stimulus will expire.

M. Spencer Green, Associated Press

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According to the Atlantic, the welfare queen is a myth. That's after it gathered data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that tracked the spending habits of families who receive public aid against families who don't.

It turns out that on average families who receive public aid spend less than half as much as families who do not and spend even less when it comes to things such as food and insurance. As Jordan Weissman, author of the piece on the Atlantic, notes, "There were, on average, 3.7 people in each family on public assistance. ... So that $6,460 spent on food comes out to about $34 per person, per week."

We have created our own version of the graph for publication here.

Freeman Stevenson is a Snow College grad and a writer for the Deseretnews.com Opinion section and Brandview. Email Freeman at fstevenson@deseretdigital.com

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