Magazine article Amber Waves

Participation in SNAP Varies across States but Is Generally Decreasing

Magazine article Amber Waves

Participation in SNAP Varies across States but Is Generally Decreasing

Article excerpt

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-USDA's largest food assistance program-is available to most needy households with limited incomes and assets. In 2017, approximately 42 million low-income individuals received SNAP benefits in the United States. These individuals accounted for 12.9 percent of the U.S. population, down from 13.7 percent in 2016. The share of the population receiving SNAP benefits has declined each year since 2013, when 15.1 percent of Americans participated in the program.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works with State partners to administer SNAP. In 2017, the shares of State residents receiving SNAP benefits ranged from 22.1 percent in New Mexico to 5.7 percent in Wyoming. Among seven FNS-defined regions nationwide, the Southeast region had the highest average share of residents receiving SNAP benefits at 15.1 percent. Shares for individual States within the Southeast ranged from 18.0 percent in Mississippi to 13.3 percent in North Carolina. The Mountain Plains region had the lowest average share of residents receiving SNAP at 9.6 percent. Of the five States that had resident participation rates at or below 8 percent, four were in the Mountain Plains region: Kansas, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

From 2016 to 2017, only three States saw an increase in the share of residents receiving SNAP: Alaska, Montana, and Texas. Alaska had the largest increase in participation, growing from 11.1 to 12.0 percent of residents, while Montana's share went from 11. …

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