21,231 of Minnehaha County residents receive SNAP

I often cringe when I hear our mayor talk about the 3% unemployment rate in Sioux Falls, because when you compare that rate to how many people are receiving food stamps, something isn’t adding up. Sioux Falls is a bastion of ‘working poor’ who may have a job or several, but still must depend on government programs to get by and feed their families. Of that 3% rate, I am curious how many of these people are ‘underemployed’ or are working 50-60 hours a week and several jobs.

I challenge our finance director and mayor to give us the ‘real’ numbers when it comes to employment in SF.

DOC, County by County: WEB_SNAP_July2013


#1 Tom H. on 09.09.13 at 11:28 am

Hear hear!

#2 OldSlewFoot on 09.09.13 at 1:12 pm

DL – Is there really any correlation between unemployment and food stamps? Unemployment in Minnehaha Co was 3.1% in July. That is simply the unemployed receiving benefits (3,200 people). divided by the labor force.

There were 11,000 adults on food stamps. This could be underemployed, those not seeking work, people working off the books, etc. And it surely could be some hard working, single parent of one child making $7.50/hr working around 50 hours a week.

I think these would be interesting numbers for city, county and state breakdown at a national level.

#3 Winston on 09.09.13 at 2:36 pm

Sioux Falls is a demonstrative example of the “Two Americas.” Watch the news at night, it is not unusual for the local media to go from one story about economic growth in our community to the next story about how the food bank is running low on inventory, or the Banquets numbers are up, but the volunteer numbers are down, or about all of the free backpacks and school supplies which are handed-out to local school children, while our political leaders and planners talk about how great things are and what they want to spend our taxpayers dollars on next….

It is a true dichotomy which the media never addresses except in the singular sense and our politicians never talk about.

#4 Detroit Lewis on 09.09.13 at 2:57 pm

What is amazing is that in Lincoln county only 1,382 are getting food stamps.

#5 Craig on 09.09.13 at 3:09 pm

DL – how many low income neighborhoods to you know of that sit South of 57th street? How many income based apartment complexes? How many neighborhoods where you can purchase a home for under $100k?

Doesn’t surprise me at all to see the split between counties being the way it is because the low income neighborhoods are very concentrated in the North and Central parts of town just as more and more wealth seems to be moving South and East.

#6 anonymous2 on 09.09.13 at 3:10 pm

Winston: Amen

Detroit Lewis: People out here–Lincoln County– get very isolated from the average Mary Jane living in the inner Sioux Falls area. This is true for a good segment of the residential that surrounds the inner core. It doesn’t mean we are bad people. More people should just go for a ride and contemplate.

#7 just me on 09.09.13 at 3:53 pm

How many college students in SF are getting food stamps? And don’t you know that Obama wants more people on food stamps and has made it easier and easier to qualify. Heck, you don’t even have to actually work once again to get welfare – you can just meditate and it qualifies.

#8 l3wis on 09.09.13 at 4:07 pm

Craig, I would agree, just shows the income divide in SF.

#9 Winston on 09.09.13 at 4:30 pm

Minnehaha versus Lincoln stats and demographics…. I guess we now know where the two Americas are….. don’t we…..

#10 Poly43 on 09.09.13 at 5:18 pm

I really like post number 6. Yes, more people really do need to take a ride and just contemplate what is happening to this country. There really is no middle class anymore, just the rich and working poor. So what about Mary Jane?

The largest occupational group in SF is the Office and Administrative Support work group. Largely women I would have to assume. Of the 25,440 in this group, 2,544 make less than $9.80 an hour. 6,360 make less than $11.29 an hour. 12,620 make less than $13.50 an hour. There are many other work groups in SF with the same misery index as I just illustrated. SNAP has its hands full trying to keep food on the table for the SF working poor. Contrary to what “some” say here it is harder to qualify for snap than at any time in the past. Wish I could say the same for kristi noems husband as he lines up each year at the trough for the farm subsidy program.

I’d really be curious to know how many city employees qualify for snap. There are 1100 full time city employees, but working right along side of them are 400 part timers, who cannot work more than 28 hours a week with very low wages and no benefits. Tell us MMM, how many city employees are on snap?

#11 Poly43 on 09.09.13 at 5:40 pm

The other day I posted a link to a site, for Sy, about the troubled city of Detroit. I think much of that article plays a role in the Minnehaha/Lincoln county dynamics. It’s a warning bell and people better be paying attention.


#12 Joan on 09.09.13 at 5:50 pm

From 88-90, I attended one of the technical schools in SD, as a non-traditional student. I was in my late 40s. There were 3-4 non-traditional students in the course I was taking, and the young girls/women, up to age 20 were always complaining that they couldn’t get the grants, displaced homemaker scholarships, etc., because even though they weren’t living at home, their parents income was still considered when it came to applying for all of these things. I got along better with these young people than the other non-traditional students did. I must have been Miss Congeniality. Ha!

#13 Joan on 09.09.13 at 5:53 pm

I should have added, I don’t know how many of the younger students got food stamps. I know at least one of them did, and I know all of the non-traditional students did, but we also had families. My guess is that the students that get food stamps might be the ones that area a little older, than the ones fresh out of high school.

#14 Joan on 09.09.13 at 5:53 pm

I should have added, I don’t know how many of the younger students got food stamps. I know at least one of them did, and I know all of the non-traditional students did, but we also had families. My guess is that the students that get food stamps might be the ones that area a little older, than the ones fresh out of high school.

#15 OldSlewFoot on 09.09.13 at 6:18 pm

Instead of riding around and contemplating, go do laundry at the Welcome Mat on east 10th by the viaduct across from McDonalds on a Sat or Sun. Pretty interesting/diverse crowd that are now the real people of central SF east of the river.

Stop at Nikki’s La Mexicana at 8th and Indiana while you are in the area. Interesting little Mexican grocery.

#16 Titleist on 09.09.13 at 6:37 pm

Poor people. Another reason we need an INDOOR PUBLIC pool. Forward.

#17 anonymous on 09.09.13 at 8:30 pm

For the past twenty years, I have worked two jobs (and sometimes three) just to survive in this town.

My employers are some of Sioux Falls largest organizations.

I have raised a family, I was involved in my child’s activities, and I remain active in our community.

I am a part of our city’s working poor.

What has helped me through all these years is not public assistance or the resources of our local government, but my faith. Many times I have literally been down to my last dollar, and somehow something good always happens to save the day.

Twenty million dollar swimming pools and endless recreational opportunities for those that can afford it, along with events centers I will never be able to afford tickets to……..Really, Titleist, why would you think the working poor would support using tax dollars for such luxuries?

#18 Titleist on 09.09.13 at 9:39 pm

Sioux Falls needs a PUBLIC INDOOR POOL. We need to continue to invest in our community. We have excellent public schools, Catholic schools, Lutheran schools and Christian schools, police and private security guards, public Universities and private colleges, public fire departments, public libraries and private libraries, public streets and private streets, public pools and private pools, private physician owned hospitals and public hospitals, private tennis courts and public tennis courts. We need to focus on providing as many people as many opportunities as possible. Sioux Falls does not want to sink or swim in in a society where all of the privileges are for the rich. Kids need to have fun. We need to invest in public recreation. We do not want kids to play video games and get into trouble. We need to occupy their time. We need a safe place for kids. The private only system is hard for families that cannot afford a membership to private pool or fitness clubs and don’t live in a neighborhood with someone with a indoor or backyard pool. I would also note that more than 1,000 public pools where built during the Great Depression as public works projects.


#19 Poly43 on 09.09.13 at 9:44 pm

IF the indoor pool comes to fruition it will be designed and catered for those who belong to the swim clubs. How many Joe and Janes can afford the thousands it takes to belong to a swim club?

#20 Titleist on 09.09.13 at 10:56 pm

How many Joe and Janes can afford the thousands it takes to have a private indoor pool?

When you build it, kids will come. Sioux Falls PUBLIC indoor pool. Forward.

#21 LJL on 09.09.13 at 11:27 pm

So there is no middle class and all of us on the Lincoln side are the wealthy. HMMM… there’s a whole lot of BS in those statements.

The middle class is shrinking and it has a lot to do with peoples choices. Too many find the easier road to be that of not getting an education having children way too young and getting on public assistance. The disgusting rise in the cost of college is a big factor but our cultures emphasis on all the wrong things really sinks us all.

My wife and I serve at the banquet twice a year for our community elvolment program through our employers. Through my observations I must deduce that tattoos, expensive cell phones and cigarettes are handed out free somewhere.

Lets use our governments statistical data.

Here is the data compared by race and gender nationally. There is some staggering data on this sheet.

Here is a comparision of the counties using the gov data.
lbr force emplyd unemply %
Lincoln June 2013 27515 26661 854 3.1
Minn. June 2013 102087 98625 3462 3.4

A little difference by county. Lets break it down to the 2 sides of the city by county.

Lincoln June 2013 13164 12770 394 3.0
Minn. June 2013 80353 77550 2803 3.5

Some difference there as well.

Lets break the state down by married compared to unmarried with families. http://www.bls.gov/lau/table14full12.pdf
Married men 2.5% unemployed
married women 2.2% unempleyd
unmarried women with families 10.8% That’s a big difference.
Only data by race is Hispanic and their rate is 8.9% !!!
No data for unmarried men with families. (BTW did you know that NFL star Terrel Owens is now bankrupt and has 17 children.)

I used this site to run statistical data of poverty rate based on school district.

SF district 12.6 % population in poverty
Harrisburg 4.4%
Tea 5.6%
Lennox 6%
W Central 5.8%
Baltic 6%

Now using this site we can compare graduation rates.

SF district 78% graduation rate
Harrisburg 90%
Tea no data
Lennox 81%
W Central 91%
Baltic 75%

Bottom line is we need to put less emphasis on technology and get back to teaching golden rules of life’s choices. Finish school, get a job, get married then have children. It has always been statistically the best way to stay out of poverty.

Do I think that their are truly poor folks in our community. YES. We need to fix the system to help those who truly cannot help themselves and change our culture to stop the middle class decline.

Speaking about the SNAP program read this article to make you really angry.

#22 rufusx on 09.09.13 at 11:46 pm

Swim club scholarships.

#23 Poly43 on 09.10.13 at 7:37 am

Education is great LJL but it does not put food on the table. In many instances all it does is add about $40,000 in school loan debt. This town, regardless of education will still have 34,500 jobs that pay less than $11.12 an hour.

#24 rufusx on 09.10.13 at 8:16 am

Better economic dividing line to Minnehaha vs. Lincoln counties is inside/outside 229.

#25 Karma on 09.10.13 at 10:36 am

This is great dialogue and I have learned a great deal by reading it.

I do somehow wonder how much the Mayor truly cares about the state and status of our community. When you care about nothing except getting two new Wal-marts and an EC in an industrial park where job growth will flourish but wages will be awful – you have to wonder how much this administration cares about the resume and the dream of a better life through working hard each day of those that are willing to do it every day, of every month, of every year and they never get ahead. Or is it more about his resume?

I do agree we have to offer recreational opportunities to kids and who cares if the pool is an Olympic size pool that can host swim meets? A pool and an opportunity to be active and learn to swim in the middle of January is an awesome thing for a kid. Just watch.

I also believe higher education is an absolute gift to a person. Do you need to go to four years to accomplish a better life? Absolutely not. For example, Kilian is an accredited school and you can get a two year degree in Medical Office, Business, Accounting etc and I guarantee it will land you a better job than working at Wal-Mart without bankrupting you.

There are opportunities, but I do agree, there is a definite divide in SF and with this Mayor and the agenda he is pushing right now, no one is going to move up the income ladder anytime soon. It doesn’t matter how hard someone works.

#26 Craig on 09.10.13 at 11:58 am

I have to admit when I saw someone trying to suggest an indoor pool is a way to help our “poor people” I honestly felt there was a sarcasm tag missing.

If you think spending $20M on a pool and another $1.2M a year to operate it is the best usage of funds for low income residents you are really, REALLY out of touch.

Do you know how far $20M could go towards scholarships to allow low-income residents to better their lives or towards food benefits that would ensure children get three meals a day? Any idea how far that could go towards childcare subsidies to allow single parents to go to school or work to better themselves and their families?

Go spend a few days packing bags for Feeding South Dakota and speak with those who work there – you’ll be amazed at how many of our local kids rely on that food to get them through the weekend. For families struggling to provide nutrition, do you really think they can justify pool passes or the gas to drive back and forth?

Speak with a teacher who has to deal with students who don’t get breakfast and are more concerned with where their next meal will come from rather than their math homework. Do you think swimming in December (or any type of recreation for that matter) is going to solve the issue?

Talk to a social worker who sees the results of a single parent family where babysitters and daycares are a luxury item and report back on how many of these parents think a swimming pool will have a significant positive impact upon their lives.

I’m seriously baffled that the indoor pool concept is even mentioned here. Talk about being from another world.

#27 Titleist on 09.10.13 at 1:33 pm

Public pools! Public schools! Talk to teachers.


#28 pathloss on 09.10.13 at 3:09 pm

I read with interest the lengthy LJL comment. I’m sold but most citizens have their interpretation and ignore facts. Does anyone not know someone who is on assistance? Certainly the politicians & doctors on the hill do not. They hardly know anyone in the middle class. I think before there’s a public indoor pool there should be parents who can afford swimsuits and a car to get their kids there. Parents whose kids are not always in trouble because they work several jobs and don’t have time to give their children the right kind of attention.

#29 Titleist on 09.10.13 at 7:12 pm

A PUBLIC indoor pool in the middle of the City. Within walking distance for many disadvantaged kids that don’t live anywhere near were Walmart wants to build.


#30 Poly43 on 09.10.13 at 7:36 pm

…who cares if the pool is an Olympic size pool that can host swim meets?…

You will care, unless of course your kids are on the Snowfox swim team. Make no mistake about it, Joe and Janes kids, IF they can handle the wintertime admission fee, will always be on the sidelines waiting for a Snowfox practice or meet to be over with.

#31 LJL on 09.10.13 at 10:51 pm

To those who find fault in logic and statistics,
Congratulations you are part of the problem, much like convicted criminals, excuses are no remedy to the problem.

Oh yes. Lets make a really huge problem like eduction and poverty analogous to a swimming pools. Good work party politics for watering down the discussion. Just a few posts short of snow gates and Hitler.

Refer to previous posts about the demise of the SD democrat party for your virtue. All of us need to drop our preconceived notions and see that Dem vs. REP. is really not helping out the good of the people.

If you want to take a true stand say BULLSHIT. WE will need to insist on not spending a nickle on wants until our needs are met. Education should be number 1 and this does not mean spending more on teachers pay or pretty buildings. We need to hold parents responsible for the actions of their choices foremost. Pointing out all the disgusting examples on our TV and helping our kids is with their eduction is a huge part.

Please, please , please meet this conservative on common ground and call for real reform. Those who choose to have children they do not intend to support and those who are Filthy rich on farm subsidies need to be held accountable as leaches and morally corrupt maggots feeding on the middle class. Trust me, the middle class is a huge electorate South and North of 57th street. We need to speak as a majority as all of us know we are.

#32 LJL on 09.10.13 at 11:50 pm

Here’s another thought. Lets spend no money on TIFS for those with money and LOAN TIFS for projects which secures jobs for those with no money but have a high school diploma’s and a skill. Both the developer and the small business should be in the risk for the loss of the TIF.

I will bet you big money there are kids with huge skills in cooking,woodworking, urban spanning, construction and automotive coming into the workforce very soon.

I would much rather risk a smaller part of our money on those who could create jobs for the middle class than give money to the wealthy.

#33 Poly43 on 09.11.13 at 8:28 am

Education should be number 1

I agree education is great. But all education will do to masses in SF is create a mass exodus to where the real jobs are. Do you really believe a higher educated SF workforce is going to mean those 34,500 jobs in town that pay less than $11.12 an hour is going to magically be elevated to a more middle class salary of $20.00 an hour? Not going to happen.

Here is how it works in SF. I’ll pick a very small slice as an example. The city of Sioux Falls Library Department. 94 total employees. You would think being city government workers all would be riding the glory of a middle class lifestyle anxiously awaiting the arrival next year of Justin bieber. But such is not the case. 30 of those library workers, or roughly a third if the total, are full time part time helpers. What does that mean? That means they work in obscurity no more than 28 hours a week average, no benefits, and a salary between $7.75 and $10.00 an hour.

That’s just a small slice of how modern business is conducted all over this town. The postal service does it, all the grocery stores, hospitals. You name it. They all do it. All to benefit the bottom line and make those st the top 5% even richer.

So will an education change any of this? I don’t think so.

I also suspect a good many of the under employed in this town could qualify for snap but are just too proud to do it.

#34 anonymous on 09.11.13 at 2:24 pm

Financial service jobs are a big player in the $10-12 an hour jobs in SF.

All the while they are sending millions (no, probably billions over the span of many years) of dollars of profit out-of-state.

#35 Detroit Lewis on 09.11.13 at 2:39 pm

As will WM when they build a couple of new stores.

#36 LJL on 09.11.13 at 6:52 pm

Financial service jobs are a big player in the $10-12 an hour jobs in SF

That’s a good point anonymous. All those teleworkers do not raise the overall pay of the workforce. But it also shows there are plenty of jobs out there. Far too many are OK with food, housing, heating assistance rather than better themselves with a $12 an hour joband can But they still find the money for smokes, booze and tats

#37 Poly43 on 09.11.13 at 9:11 pm

But they still find the money for smokes, booze and tats

That is a complete copout. For every person you can find like you describe there are 20 like post number 17. For someone who portends to have been around the block you strike me as very naive.

#38 Poly43 on 09.11.13 at 9:45 pm

All those teleworkers do not raise the overall pay of the workforce

To quote you, that is complete bullshit. There are twice as many production workers in SF as there are teleworkers. There are also twice as many production workers making less than $12 an hour as there are teleworkers.

Do your homework.

#39 OldSlewFoot on 09.11.13 at 9:54 pm

DL – Is anonymous always the same person. If not, why can they be anonymous and I can’t?

#40 Poly43 on 09.12.13 at 7:08 am


#41 Joan on 09.12.13 at 5:49 pm

LJL, you only know what you see, not what you can prove. Food stamps are meant as a supplement to a person’s regular food budget. Are you even aware that people can get free tattoos. There are a lot of private people that have their own tattoo equipment and are perfectly willing to do free tattoos for friends. Seven years ago, when my grandaughter was 15, she got a free tattoo, from the older brother of a friend. When I found out about it, I tried to get legislators in my district to propose a law, stating that the only way people could buy tattoo equipment would be to prove they were licensed, but these wonderful politicians didn’t like that idea. You can also buy prepaid cell phones that look like the expensive ones. If people are looking for work, they have to have a phone, so they can be contacted. As far as cigarettes go, can’t a person spend a few dollars for something they enjoy? How exactly do you know these people spend money on booze. You are awfully judgement for somebody that I would be willing to bet has never needed public assistance. One of my grandaughters, supporting a two year old, was working two full time jobs, at a little over minimum wage, until she became ill from the stress. I admit she made her bed and has to lie in it, but she made her two of her biggest mistakes while she was still a teenager. I’m not judging her for it, I figure some day she will wake up. Have you checked the price of groceries lately? Higher education is fine and good, but I know people that have Master’s Degrees, that are working low income jobs, because they can’t find a decent paying job without leaving SD. I can’t figure out why they are so reluctant to do that—–if I were about 40 years younger I would be doing that, and I don’t have a Masters. When it comes to an indoor swimming pool, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be occupied by the Snow Fox most of the time. I would also be willing to bet that when push comes to shove, low income kids won’t be able to get free swim passes to use there. The city big shots might say that won’t happen, but I don’t believe politicians any more than I believe military recruiters, doctors, or lawyers.

#42 LJL on 09.14.13 at 11:07 am

Your correct Joan. As the son of a single mother with 2 children and 2 jobs, I am extremely proud to say my family has not used government assistance.

We (or better said my mother) could have used some assistance from time to time. Pride and self worth was and still is important, and ultimately made my family what it is today.

As I said before Joan, we serve at the banquet a couple of times a year for over 10 years as part of the things we do as outreach. You can do this and get back to me with your own conclusions.

I will share that one of the projects we find to be the most promising and life changing is the United Ways program to teach and help families find stable housing, jobs, education on family budgeting and providing clothing for interviews and work.

Project Genesis