Nearly 50% of American households receive government benefits

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "49.1% of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011."

The statistics were generated from information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Wall Street Journal said that this was 30% increase since the early 1980s. It's believed that the higher numbers are due, "in large part", to the recent recession. According to numbers from 2011, up to 15% of people lived in a household that received food stamps, 26% had someone enrolled in Medicaid and 2% had a member receiving unemployment benefits.