Mississippi’s Poor and the Welfare State

According to the Census Bureau, Mississippi is the poorest state in the U.S. Twenty-two percent of residents live below the poverty line, and the median income is only slightly above $35,000. Many more residents hover just above the poverty line and struggle for self-sufficiency. Furthermore, 32 percent of Mississippi’s children and almost 36 percent of African-Americans live in poverty.

Many Mississippians are dependent on state and federal welfare programs. In 2012, one in five Mississippians received food stamps, the highest rate of reliance on food assistance in the nation. In August of 2009, over 605,000 Mississippians were enrolled in Medicaid.

To provide assistance to its struggling citizens, Mississippi spent over 1.5 billion on welfare in 2011. The state also receives a large amount of assistance from the federal government. While not all of it goes toward poverty-related expenditures, data suggests that Mississippi obtains over three dollars in federal government aid for every dollar the state pays in taxes. In fiscal year 2009, federal government expenditures in Mississippi exceeded $33 billion.

Bigger Pie Forum
3/16/14