By Elvina Nawaguna
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of children in the United States relying on food stamps for a meal spiked to 16 million last year, according federal data, signaling a lopsided economic recovery in which lower income families are still lagging behind.
The roughly one in five children who received food stamps in 2014 surpassed pre-recession levels, when one in eight or 9 million children were on food stamps, according to the U.S. Census survey of American families released on Wednesday
Republicans in Congress have sought to cut back on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or food stamp program as part of a larger plan to balance the budget.
Early last year lawmakers proposed $40 billion in cuts from the program over 10 years. The final farm bill signed into law trimmed $8.6 billion from the program, eliminating benefits for about 850,000 people, according to estimates by anti-hunger advocates.
Other findings of the survey show a rapidly changing America in which more children are being raised in single-parent homes and more young people are delaying marriage.
Of the 73.7 million children under 18 in the United States, 27 percent were living in single parent homes last year, tripling the 9 percent in 1960.
The number of marriages also dwindled last year with less than half of households in America made up of married couples, compared to three-quarters in 1940, the survey found.
The median age for people first getting married in 2014 was 29 for men and 27 for women up from 24 and 21 respectively in 1947.
(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Sandra Maler)