Brief Data & History of SNAP

According to the official data around 25 percent of the American families were reported to be food-insecure in 2017, which is a very high number for a country like the United States. Among these food-insecure households, those with children, elderly or disabled members are most vulnerable.

However, the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps the majority of these households get some food assistance. SNAP started as a transitory relief program during the Great Depression of the 1930s and became an established assistance initiative in 1964 with an initial budget allocation of $75 million reaching $70 billion recently. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service reports that in a typical month in 2018, SNAP supported 44 million Americans (22.7 million households) receiving an average benefit of $123.74 each (around $257 per household).

 

The volume and range of the SNAP program are evolving with ever-increasing eligible households so did the number of recipients but with improved economic conditions at national level SNAP recipients have fallen since 2014. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed on SNAP participation rates in all U.S. urban areas to classify the cities with the biggest share of people depending on this vital food assistance. The majority of the localities on this list are low-income areas in the cities with the highest poverty rates.

Cities consuming most SNAP benefits

The national statistics reflect that around 11.7 percent of Americans rely on SNAP benefits, nationwide but in many cities on the list, figured out by 24/7 Wall St. deliverance of the SNAP is more than double the national rate. These include cities with higher unemployment and cities that host a great number of vulnerable peoples including single-parent families mostly in Southern and Western States. This is the reason attributed to the varying standards of the eligibility and size of the assistance offered in different states.

The methodology adopted by the 24/7 Wall St. to identify the cities with the most people receiving SNAP benefits, included participation rate, poverty, level of education achieved, retirement income, and disability rates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. Unemployment rates in the following research are seasonally adjusted for May 2019 and are official figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The metro area level poverty statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau to classify the cities with the highest poverty rates reflects that in 38 of the 382 reviewed metro areas, at least 20 percent residents live in poverty. Of the 38 metro areas, 17 are in Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, or West Virginia.

Following is the list of 28 cities (in ascending order) across the US with most people on SNAP food assistance in terms of population of that city;

  Name of the city with State Households with SNAP benefits Poverty rate Pop. with a disability May 2019

unemployment

28 Johnstown, PA 18.7% 15.1% 17.8% 4.3%
27 Valdosta, GA 18.8% 26.0% 10.1% 3.3%
26 Yuma, AZ 18.9% 18.3% 12.0% 17.1%
25 Rocky Mount, NC 18.9% 18.6% 16.8% 5.5%
24 Pueblo, CO 18.9% 18.1% 20.3% 3.7%
23 Goldsboro, NC 19.0% 21.2% 16.5% 4.4%
22 Decatur, IL 19.0% 12.8% 15.6% 4.5%
21 Altoona, PA 19.1% 14.6% 20.1% 3.5%
20 Florence, SC 19.3% 19.3% 18.0% 3.6%
19 El Paso, TX 19.3% 21.1% 12.1% 3.2%
18 Grants Pass, OR 19.4% 17.4% 18.7% 4.3%
17 Beckley, WV 19.7% 20.0% 26.1% 4.5%
16 Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH 19.8% 20.9% 21.1% 4.5%
15 Merced, CA 19.9% 23.8% 13.4% 7.3%
14 Springfield, MA 20.1% 15.5% 15.9% 0.0%
13 Fresno, CA 20.2% 21.1% 14.6% 6.4%
12 Farmington, NM 21.2% 24.8% 14.8% 4.9%
11 Longview, WA 21.7% 17.2% 23.8% 6.2%
10 Albany, OR 22.0% 14.6% 15.6% 3.8%
9 El Centro, CA 22.5% 20.7% 15.4% 16.4%
8 Visalia-Porterville, CA 22.7% 24.6% 11.1% 8.1%
7 Hammond, LA 22.7% 20.7% 20.0% 4.6%
6 Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 22.8% 27.9% 12.7% 4.6%
5 Albany, GA 24.1% 24.7% 15.8% 4.2%
4 Yakima, WA 24.2% 18.1% 13.8% 6.8%
3 Las Cruces, NM 26.4% 28.1% 17.0% 5.3%
2 Laredo, TX 28.0% 28.0% 10.8% 3.2%
1 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 30.5% 30.0% 14.1% 5.0%

 

States with most SNAP recipients

An individual can be eligible for SNAP if his or her gross monthly income is under $1,265 ($15,180 per year), and a family of four can be eligible if they gross less than $2,584 per month ($31,008 per year).

A taxpayer’s view of the safety net program depends on many factors — his or her upbringing, personal experiences, and even where he or she lives. In some localities, food stamp use is more common than in others.

Below is the list of the states that have the most food stamp recipients per capita. To determine the states on this list, we used the USDA Food Nutrition Service’s most recent state-by-state data and population data from the Census Bureau. States with the highest number of SNAP beneficiaries relative to the population ranked highest.

A state-by-state breakdown of food stamp use in top benefits consuming states and the District of Columbia

Top 7 States with the most people on food stamps:

 

State Program beneficiaries Percentage of the state’s population Total money on those EBT cards cost the state Cost of benefits per capita in this state
Louisiana 868,192 18.67% Around $107.4 million $23.10 per person
Tennessee over 1.28 million 19.58% $158.7 million $24.23 per person
Oregon 791,222 19.93% $98 million

 

$24.66 per person
West Virginia 369,249 19.96% Around $45.7 million $24.69 per person
New Mexico 448,328 21.5% $55.5 million $26.60 per person
Mississippi 650,911 21.74% $80.5 million $26.90 per person
District of Columbia 144,768

 

21.97% $18 million

 

$27.19 per person

 

 

 

 

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