Watch Fox News Push 3 Food Stamp Myths In Under 5 Minutes

Fox News pushed three food stamp myths in under five minutes, while hyping new statistics showing that 46.5 million Americans now receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) -- or food stamp -- benefits. Fox ignored the fact that raising the minimum wage would reduce the number of SNAP recipients, that experts agree marriage would not solve problems of poverty, that increasing numbers of college students are food insecure and need this government aid, and that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for SNAP benefits.

U.S. Census Bureau Reports One In Five American Children Receive Food Stamps

U.S. Census Bureau: More Children Receiving Food Stamps Than Before Start Of Recession. According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on January 28, one in five America children currently receive food stamp benefits and more children received food stamps in 2014 than “before the start of the Great Recession in 2007.” [U.S. Census Bureau, 1/28/15]

Fox Hypes Census Data To Push Food Stamp Myths

MYTH: Raising The Minimum Wage To Reduce Food Stamp Usage Would Create More Unemployment

Fox Guest: Raising The Minimum Wage Creates More Unemployment. After radio host Richard Fowler suggested on the February 1 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Sunday that raising the minimum wage and “investing in the American people,” were the best ways to reduce the rising number of families and children relying on food stamps, fellow guest Star Parker claimed that raising the minimum wage would only “create more unemployment.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday, 2/1/15]

FACT: Raising The Minimum Wage Reduces Food Stamp Enrollment And Expenditures

Center For American Progress: $10.10 Minimum Wage Would Cut Food Stamp Participation By $4.6 Billion Annually. According to research conducted by economists Rachel West and Michael Reich for the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE), adopting a $10.10 minimum wage, as proposed in a bill known as Harkin-Miller, would significantly reduce reliance on SNAP:

Our findings indicate that increased earnings from minimum wage changes do reduce SNAP enrollments and expenditures. We estimate that the Harkin-Miller bill would save taxpayers nearly $4.6 billion per year, equivalent to 6.1 percent of SNAP expenditures in 2012, the last year for which data are available. Over a 10-year period, the estimated savings amount to nearly $46 billion. [Center for American Progress, March 2014]

MYTH: Rise In Food Stamp Recipients Due To “Collapse Of Traditional Family Life”

Fox Guest: Rise In SNAP Recipients Due To Increase In Single-Parent Households. On Fox & Friends Sunday, columnist Star Parker claimed that the “collapse of traditional family life” was responsible for the rise in children receiving SNAP benefits. Parker stated that “the majority of people on food stamps today -- 86 percent -- are in single-headed households trying to raise children.” Co-host Tucker Carlson agreed, lamenting that President Obama has “not a single time encouraged people to get married when they have kids.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday, 2/1/15]

FACT: Single-Parent Households Are Only 26 Percent Of SNAP Recipients

USDA: Single-Parent Households Only Comprise 26 Percent Of All SNAP Households. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) most recent report, single-parent households with children only make up 26 percent of all SNAP recipient households:

In fiscal year 2013, single adults headed more than half (57 percent) of all SNAP households with children, accounting for 26 percent of all SNAP households (Table 3.2). Approximately 8 percent of all SNAP households included a married head of household and children, accounting for 18 percent of all SNAP households with children. [USDA, December 2014]

FACT: Experts Reject Idea That Single-Parent Households Cause Poverty

The Shriver Report: Marriage Not A “Silver Bullet For Women's Economic Troubles.” In partnership with the Center for American Progress, NBC's Maria Shriver released a 2014 report on the economic realities women face in America. In the report, contributing author and director of the Children and Families Program at Next Generation, Ann O'Leary, argued that simply promoting marriage and family values will not solve poverty, but that economic policies that improve access to food, education, and childcare help to decrease economic hardship for women. [The Shriver Report, 1/12/14]

Paul Krugman: Income Inequality Is Caused By A Lack Of Economic Opportunity, Not A “Collapse Of The Family.” In January 2014, economist Paul Krugman argued in a New York Times op-ed that income inequality today is caused by a lack of economic opportunity, rather than social disintegration or the “collapse of the family”:

These days crime is way down, so is teenage pregnancy, and so on; society did not collapse. What collapsed instead is economic opportunity. If progress against poverty has been disappointing over the past half century, the reason is not the decline of the family but the rise of extreme inequality. We're a much richer nation than we were in 1964, but little if any of that increased wealth has trickled down to workers in the bottom half of the income distribution. [The New York Times, 1/8/14]

FACT: Census Found Rate Of Children Living With Married Parents And Receiving SNAP Has Doubled

Census Bureau: Twice As Many Children Living With Married Parents Now Receive Food Stamps. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's report, “the rate of children living with married parents who receive food stamps has doubled since 2007”:

The rate of children living with married parents who receive food stamps has doubled since 2007. In 2014, an estimated 16 million children, or about one in five, received food stamp assistance compared with the roughly 9 million children, or one in eight, that received this form of assistance prior to the recession. [U.S. Census Bureau, 1/28/15]

MYTH: The Obama Administration Is Needlessly Encouraging College Students And “Potential Immigrants” To Utilize Food Stamp Benefits

Tucker Carlson: Obama Administration Advertising Food Stamps To College Students And Potential Immigrants. On Fox & Friends Sunday, co-host Tucker Carlson questioned why the Obama administration is advertising SNAP benefits& to “college students and potential immigrants in Mexico.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday, 2/1/15]

FACT: Food Insecurity Is A Growing Problem For College Students

Wash. Post: Food Insecurity Growing Problem For U.S. College Students. In April 2014, The Washington Post reported that food insecurity is a growing concern among college students. According to a University of Oregon survey, 59 percent of students at one university had “recently experienced food insecurity,” but “full-time students generally do not qualify for food stampsunless they are the sole supporters of a child younger than 12.” [The Washington Post, 4/9/14]

MSNBC: Nearly 31 Percent Of College Students Must Choose Between Food And Education. According to MSNBC, about ten percent of Feeding America's 46.5 million adult clients are currently students, and “nearly one-third of those surveyed -- 30.5% -- report that they've had to choose between paying for food and covering educational expenses at some point in the last year.” [MSNBC, 8/18/14]

FACT: Student Food Stamp Use Has Doubled In Ten Years

USA Today: “Student Food Stamp Use Doubled Over Ten Years.” According to a September 2013 report from USA Today, the amount of students enrolled in schools by between the ages of 19 and 24 using food stamps has doubled during the last ten years:

An analysis of Current Population Surveys by Philip Trostel, professor of economics and public policy at the University of Maine, revealed that the number of people ages 19 to 24 receiving food stamps and enrolled in schools -- including high schools, professional schools and universities -- more than doubled from 2001 through 2010.

In 2001, 5.4% of students enrolled in school ages 19 to 24 received SNAP, whereas in 2010, 12.6% of students in the same age group were SNAP recipients. [USA Today, 9/26/13]

FACT: Undocumented Immigrants Do Not Qualify For Food Stamp Benefits

USDA: Undocumented Immigrants Are Not Eligible For Food Stamps. According to a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), “SNAP eligibility has never been extended to undocumented non-citizens,” and “although many non-citizens are now eligible ... SNAP participation has been historically low among eligible non-citizens households.” The USDA requires proof of legal immigration status and most legal adult immigrants must wait five years before receiving food stamp benefits:

SNAP eligibility has never been extended to undocumented non-citizens. Specific requirements for non-citizens who may be eligible have changed substantially over the years and become more complicated in certain areas. The goal of this Guidance is to assist people in understanding current eligibility requirements in order to bridge the gap between eligible persons in need of food assistance and SNAP benefits.

Although many non-citizens are now eligible for SNAP, SNAP participation has been historically low among eligible non-citizen households. In 2008, the participation rate for non-citizens was 51% and the rate for citizen children living with non-citizen adults was 55% as compared to the national participation rate of 67% among all eligible individuals and a national participation rate of 86% for all eligible children. [USDA, June 2011; USDA, accessed 2/1/15]

USDA: Legal Noncitizens Made Up Only 3 Percent Of SNAP Recipients In 2013. According to the USDA's most recent report on the characteristics of SNAP recipients, only seven percent of SNAP recipients were foreign-born in fiscal year 2013. “3 percent were naturalized citizens, less than 1 percent were refugees, and 3 percent were other noncitizens (lawful permanent residents and other eligible noncitizens).” [USDA, December 2014]