The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a critically important program that helps over 47 million low-income people put food on the table. As our new fact sheets show, SNAP plays a crucial role in every state.
SNAP serves mostly families with children, elderly, or disabled members. Nationally, almost 72 percent of SNAP participants live in households with children; in some states, like California and Texas, this figure is over 80 percent. More than one-quarter of SNAP participants nationally live in households with elderly or disabled family members. In some states, including Kentucky and Rhode Island, that share rises to more than one-third.
SNAP serves needy populations. In many states, close to a fifth of all residents live in poverty; in some, the proportion of people in poverty tops one-fifth. SNAP reaches many of those struggling families. In almost half of the states (23 states), more than 80 percent of eligible individuals receive SNAP. In all but three states, more than three-quarters of SNAP households have income below the poverty line, and in most states more than a third of SNAP households are in deep poverty, with incomes below half of the poverty line.
SNAP provides modest benefits. SNAP targets benefits according to need, providing the lowest-income families with the highest benefits to purchase necessary food. In most states, SNAP benefits are less than $1.50 per person per meal.
SNAP recipients spend benefits quickly, injecting important resources into local economies. Estimates show that every dollar in SNAP benefits generates $1.70 in economic activity.