The State of Georgia may have found a way to slow down or perhaps even reverse its demographic crisis.
Thousands of Georgians have lost their food stamps after the state gave them an ultimatum: Get a job or lose your benefits.
…Georgia has been rolling out work requirements for food stamp recipients for over a year. The latest round affected some 12,000 people in 21 counties, several in metro Atlanta, who are considered able-bodied without children.
When the April 1 deadline came around for them to find work, more than half — 7,251 — were dropped from the program, according to state figures released this week. Essentially, the number of recipients spiraled down from 11,779 to 4,528, or a drop of 62 percent.
…State officials say they plan to expand the work requirements to all 159 counties by 2019, with another 60 coming on board next year.
…Food stamps come from federal dollars, but the program here is managed by DFCS. Some 1.6 million Georgians receive food stamps.
The number of food stamp recipients deemed able-bodied and without children in Georgia has dropped from 111,000 to 89,500 in a year’s time. That is an uncommon reduction of 21,500 people or 19 percent. Officials say they have no firm reason for the sharp decrease, though they suspect a statewide review of this population may have played a role.
The state began implementing the work requirements in 2016 with Cobb, Gwinnett and Hall counties. The state gave recipients there three months to find a job or training program or lose their benefits. A year later, the number of able-bodied, childless adults in those counties diminished 75 percent from 6,102 to 1,490, according to DFCS figures. The state selects counties with relatively low unemployment rates for the work requirements.
Let’s take a look at the demographics in counties in question. Cobb County was roughly 50% White (and 12% Latino) in 2010. Gwinnett County was perhaps 50% White (25% Black and 20% Latino) in 2010. And Hall County was around 48% White (7% Black and 26% Latino) in 2010. This assumes that most or all of the “Latino” population is actually Mestizo or Indio and not Spanish. Remember, Mexico does not send its best. Thus far Georgia seems to have targeted counties with high Mexican migrant populations, which is positive. It will be interesting how things proceed once it gets around to cutting off food stamps in mostly-Black counties. And it will also be interesting to see if this measure by the GOP-controlled State Government improves the over-all demographic trend in the Peach State.