Food Stamp Use in Kansas City

Statistics on food stamp recipients in Kansas City are not easy to come by, as most data sets focus on a broader scope, for instance looking at all of Missouri or Kansas.

However, it is known that in 2009, 21% of Jackson County residents were on food stamps. Jackson County had a population of about 705,700 in 2009, meaning about 148,200 Kansas Citians used them that year. This included 40% of Jackson County children, 11% of white residents, and 48% of black residents. At the time, there were about 161,400 blacks in Jackson County and 451,000 whites, meaning roughly 77,500 blacks and 50,000 whites used food stamps.

In much wealthier Johnson County, 3% of residents received food stamps (6% of children, 2% of whites, 14% of blacks).

For other areas that make up the Kansas City metro, statistics were somewhere between these extremes. In Wyandotte County, it was 16% of residents (27% of children, 10% of whites, 31% of blacks). Platte County, 7% (14% of children, 5% of whites, 25% of blacks). Clay County, 11% (20% of children, 9% of whites, 33% of blacks).

Because they are disproportionately poor (due to America’s ugly racial history and modern racial discrimination), blacks are disproportionately on welfare. According to the 2015 State of Black Kansas City Equality Index, published by UMKC for the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, the poverty rate for blacks in the greater metropolitan area is more than double that of whites (29.8% versus 12.6%). Black median income is just over half that of whites ($29,724 versus $54,044). The median net worth for whites is nearly eighteen times higher: $6,314 for blacks, $110,500 for whites. The unemployment rate for blacks is double the unemployment rate for whites.

Overall, the majority of welfare users in the U.S. are non-black. Blacks make up 39% of all recipients (and only 4% of blacks use cash assistance, 6-12% use housing assistance, and 11-19% use food stamps; see Loveless and Tin, Dynamics of Economic Well-Being).

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