The number of North Dakotans using food stamps to buy groceries has dropped to a three-year low, even as the state's population has risen to an all-time high.
Federal Agriculture Department figures show North Dakota had an average of just under 59,000 people per month receiving food assistance in fiscal year 2012. That's down from 60,900 in 2011 and nearly 60,000 in 2010.
Food stamp director Arlene Dura says the decrease is due to the state's strong economy and its low unemployment rate.
Data show North Dakota's population has increased from about 672,500 people in 2010 to nearly 700,000 in 2012.
Federal figures show the number of U.S. residents receiving food stamps monthly increased from 40.3 million in fiscal 2010 to 46.6 million in fiscal 2012.