SNAP - Population (age 0-21) enrolled by age group in Pennsylvania

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Why This Indicator Matters

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides nutritional benefits to low-income individuals and families.[1] SNAP is intended to provide disadvantaged households with access to a healthy diet, education on food preparation, and general guidance on nutrition.[2] These goals are rooted in the understanding that low-income populations often lack the financial means and resources to access healthy food options. Benefits are issued monthly on an electronic card and can be used at authorized retail food stores to purchase a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables; meat, poultry, and fish; dairy products; breads and cereals; snack foods; and non-alcoholic beverages.[3] Eligibility and allowances for SNAP depend on several different factors such as household size, monthly income, and age and disabilities of household members.[4] SNAP is an incredibly important program as it is a primary source of nutritional assistance for many low-income households and predominantly serves families with children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities who live on fixed incomes.[5] Participation in SNAP has also been associated with improved outcomes related to economic stability, health and well-being, and food security.[6]


[1] USAGov. (2022). Food Assistance. United States General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services. https://www.usa.gov/food-help

[2] Benefits.gov. (2022). Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). United States Department of Labor. https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/1169

[3] United States Department of Agriculture. (2021). Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) What Can SNAP Buy? https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligible-food-items

[4] Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. (2021). SNAP Income Limits. https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/SNAP-Income-Limits.aspx

[5] Carlson, S. & Keith-Jennings, B. (2018). SNAP Is Linked with Improved Nutritional Outcomes and Lower Health Care Costs. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/snap-is-linked-with-improved-nutritional-outcomes-and-lower-health-care

[6] Keith-Jennings, B., Llobrera, J., & Dean, S. (2019). Links of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program with Food Insecurity, Poverty, and Health: Evidence and Potential. American Journal of Public Health, 109(12), 1636–1640. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2019.305325

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Data Provided By

Definitions: The number of children receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by age. 

Data Source: Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Income Maintenance, Bureau of Program Support

Footnotes: LNE = Low Number Event.  Statistics (rates, ratios, percents) are not calculated and displayed for counts less than 10 (or less than 3 for Bayesian/Nearest Neighbor rates).

Updated April 2022.