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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Does the Polygamous Community Deserve Food Stamps?

Posted by on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM
  • 97 Replies


Food stamp use appears to have risen in polygamous community


(Hildale Utah, and Colorado City. Safety Net helps people with a polgyamous background, many of whom come from these twin towns on the Utah-Arizona border. Tribune file photo) .

Food stamp use appears to have risen in polygamous community

One of the things I’ve heard from time to time since on the polygamy beat is polygamists suck public resources in the form of welfare.

I’m not sure how widely this topic is actually debated — I had never heard it until I started this beat, for example — but I’ve become increasingly curious about how true it might be.

Wanting to know more, I also contacted Nick Dunn at the Utah Department of Workforce Services. He told me Wednesday that for the 12 months that started April 1, 2012, an average of 1,689 people per month have used food stamps in Hildale.

The 2010 census listed Hildale with a population of 2,726.

Viewed another way, Dunn said there were 185 food stamp cases in Hildale for that time period. A family may have five people on food stamps but is counted as only one case.

That would indicate there has been a big jump in public assistance in Hildale the last few years. The Tribune’sBrooke Adams reported Hildale had an average of 75 food stamp cases a month for a stretch of time in 2007 and 2008.

Colorado City, Ariz., averaged 207 food stamp cases between March 2007 and March 2008, Adams reported. I have calls out to find current Colorado City data.

There are other ways to approach this topic. One good, easy starting point is to look at census data, as we did forthis post on population size.

But magazine Slate magazine recently offered another tool for our data mining belts: a widget showing how many people use food stamps in any given community.

The tool only displays county data, so when I put Hildale into the tool I discovered that 9 percent of the population in Washington County is using food stamps. That amounts to 11,958 people and a 94-percent increase since 2000.

When I checked for neighboring Colorado City. I learned that in Mohave County 21 percent of the population — or 42,786 people — uses food stamps. That’s 181 percent growth since 2000.

By way of comparison, the Slate tool shows that 81,351 people, or 8 percent of the population, use food stamps in Salt Lake County. In Utah and Weber counties, 6 and 9 percent of the population, respectively, uses food stamps.

Obviously, I chose to run the numbers on Washington and Mohave counties because they have comparatively large polygamous populations. Those populations also presumably represent a larger share of the overall population than in places like Salt Lake City, which also has many people practicing polygamy.

There are other government programs and means to help measure the use of welfare and public assistance. A 1998 Tribune investigation looked at some of those other gauges. A link to the article is long gone, but we posted a copy on our Scribd account.

So does the food stamp information support or refute the argument that polygamy drains public resources? Probably neither, especially because the tool can only look broadly at counties, rather than at specific municipalities or neighborhoods — let alone any particular group of people.

But I think it’s still useful for people interested in an increasingly complex understanding of polygamous communities, especially when it’s used in conjunction with the array of other available resources on this topic.

— Jim Dalrymple II


by on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM
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Replies (1-10):
UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:38 AM
3 moms liked this

I don't think relationship status is a qualifier for food stamps.

I know some communities consider it "bleeding the beast".

MeAndTommyLee
by Gold Member on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM
4 moms liked this

Any American citizen that lives on or below the poverty level is entitled to food stamps. 

LuvmyAiden
by Silver Member on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:42 AM
1 mom liked this

If we can support terroroist for YEARS while they plot attacks on those paying for thier food stamps I say polygamists are ok with me.

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM
14 moms liked this
I don't care how many people you marry or how many children you father, but they are Your responsibility. Not the Governments.
TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM
7 moms liked this
If you live below poverty level you should be responsibly and not keep fathering or having children.

Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Any American citizen that lives on or below the poverty level is entitled to food stamps. 

MeAndTommyLee
by Gold Member on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM
2 moms liked this

Yes, this is true, but we can't starve the children. 

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

If you live below poverty level you should be responsibly and not keep fathering or having children.

Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Any American citizen that lives on or below the poverty level is entitled to food stamps. 


 

Nicoleb9
by Bronze Member on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Question: Aren't women who apply for food stamps or other public assistance usually required to name the father of their child(ren) and agree to cooperate with child support enforcement? How are these men who only legally marry one woman, then go around knocking up all these extra "sister wives" who go to social services squawking poverty able to get around that rule? Shouldn't they be going after these pollinators for child support? They aren't legally married. Or is this because they're living together?
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TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM
2 moms liked this
So set up free soup kitchens in the area where they can come eat for free. Don't make it easy to sit on your ass and suck the system dry for your whacked out religious beliefs.

Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Yes, this is true, but we can't starve the children. 


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

If you live below poverty level you should be responsibly and not keep fathering or having children.


Quoting MeAndTommyLee:


Any American citizen that lives on or below the poverty level is entitled to food stamps. 




 

MeAndTommyLee
by Gold Member on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:50 AM
1 mom liked this

They should be doing everything to help themselves first and foremost before asking for help.  I do agree. 


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

So set up free soup kitchens in the area where they can come eat for free. Don't make it easy to sit on your ass and suck the system dry for your whacked out religious beliefs.

Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Yes, this is true, but we can't starve the children. 


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

If you live below poverty level you should be responsibly and not keep fathering or having children.


Quoting MeAndTommyLee:


Any American citizen that lives on or below the poverty level is entitled to food stamps. 


 


 


 

Mrs.Kubalabuku
by Bronze Member on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM
1 mom liked this

It was my understanding that in polygamous indoctrination you are only supposed to marry as many wives as you can provide for? 

Personally, I don't think relationship status should impact foodstamps.  Many of these polygamous households only have 1 government-recognized legal marriage.  The rest are only recognized by their church.  It'd be the same concept as children being born in open marriages or to single women.

But I do think the religious leaders need to take another look at this to try and find out how to make their communities better.  I know some have strict rules on women working or what jobs they can have, for example.  Or perhaps some families are taking more wives than they can afford.

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