By Anthony Scott

Killeen Daily Herald

The economy in the past year has not been kind to jobs, pocketbooks or even household pantries.

The U.S. Census American Community Survey, released Tuesday, indicated that household reliance on the government's Food Stamp and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has increased in Texas and across the United States.

Bell County didn't buck the trend.

According to the survey, food stamp usage in the county increased per household by about 7.5 percent. Food stamp usage by Texas households spiked by about 22.7 percent within the last year.

In Killeen, there were about 8.5 percent more households needing food stamps, the survey showed.

The five-year study, released by the U.S. Census Bureau, is not the same as the 10-year census.

The survey examined about 3 million households nationwide. It was designed to provide communities insight as to how they are changing. It collected information on age, race, income, commute time to work, home value, veterans status and other data, such as food stamp usage.

H-E-B Downtown Store Director Bill Mutz said changes aren't as noticeable as one might expect, possibly because of Killeen having decent economic conditions.

"I know other areas of the United States might be a little different, but overall our demographics have been about the same," he said.

For 2009, about 11.7 million households were reported as receiving food stamps in Texas, making up about 11.5 percent of the state's households.

The census survey indicated that participation in the food stamp program was highest in Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky, where usage ranks between 15 percent and 17 percent of households.

Contact Anthony Scott at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.

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