Genesee County has more residents receiving food stamps than most other counties in Michigan. See how the numbers stack up here.

It's no secret that Flint has had a rough couple of decades. Auto makers fleeing the area gutted a once rich economy, which lead to an increase in crime, which leads to people moving away in droves, which leads to an even worse economy, which leads to a city with its lowest population in almost 100 years. It's a vicious cycle... and that's before we even get into the water crisis, which we'll refrain from here, because, well, you know what's up.

When a county's largest city takes a hit (or several hits over the years, like Flint has), the surrounding areas tend to feel the effects as well. Businesses close and opportunities dry up, making it harder for residents to provide a living for themselves or their family. Sadly, that's the story of far too many families in Genesee County.

According to MLive, Genesee County ranks #4 on the list for most resident using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP aka food stamps), which averaged nearly 1.5 million people statewide last year.

Michigan Counties w/ Highest Average SNAP Recipients 2015-2016

  1. Wayne | 473,382
  2. Macomb | 108,972
  3. Oakland | 100,465
  4. Genesee | 91,932
  5. Kent | 80,056
  6. Ingham | 43,333
  7. Saginaw | 38,193
  8. Muskegon | 35,486
  9. Kalamazoo | 33,539
  10. Washtenaw | 28,005

Although Genesee County did not rank highly for the Highest Average Dollar Amount of Monthly Benefits or Average Recipients per case, we did land near the top of the list for highest percentage of population receiving SNAP benefits.

Michigan Counties w/ Highest Average % of Population Enrolled in SNAP 2015-2016

  1. Wayne | 27%
  2. Lake | 24%
  3. Clare | 22%
  4. Genesee | 22%
  5. Ogemaw | 22%
  6. Muskegon | 21%
  7. Iosco | 20%
  8. Saginaw | 20%
  9. Roscommon | 19%
  10. Wexford | 19%

Genesee County is actually down 12% in average number of recipients compared to 2013-2014, while the state is down 11%. Whether Michigan's 2014 enactment of suspicion based drug testing for welfare benefits played a role in lowering the numbers is difficult to say wiht the information that is currently available, but is unlikely since the pilot program for the policy yielded no results. Economic improvement likely played a bigger role in statewide reductions, while in Genesee County's case, people moving away from Flint is a more likely cause.