Approximately 52.2 million (or 21.3%) people in the United States participated in major means-tested government assistance programs each month in 2012, according to a new Census Bureau report.
The average monthly participation rate for Medicaid (15.3%) was higher than those for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program, (13.4%); housing assistance (4.2%); Supplemental Security Income (3%); and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/General Assistance (1%).
Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Participation in Government Programs 2009-2012: Who Gets Assistance? examines how long people participated in programs.
At 49.4%, the largest share of people receiving housing assistance benefits participated between 37 and 48 months. At 24.8%, the next largest share of people receiving housing assistance participated between one and 12 months.
The report finds that 10.2 million people received housing assistance in 2012, up from 10.1 million in 2009.