Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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Definitions: Percent of total eligible population who participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Persons are eligible for participation in SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program) if they meet certain resource and income tests. Not everyone who is eligible for food stamps elects to take them. More detailed information about eligibility is here: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/eligibility.htm#employment. SNAP eligibility rules were applied to the Current Population Survey (CPS) to estimate the total eligible population in each state.

Data Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Studies. Mathematica Policy Research Institute analysis of participation data and eligible persons.
USDA releases annual reports that include the percent eligible population who participated in SNAP, along with confidence intervals. These reports can be found by searching “Trends in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates” at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/. Annual data on the number of participants can be found at http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/snapmain.htm.

Footnotes: Updated January 2012.
N.A. – Data not available. A 90 percent confidence interval for each estimate can be found at Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.