2001 SNAP Data

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December 2001

Food Stamp Participation Increases in December 2001 for Ninth Straight Month
Recent Trends Likely Reflect Weakening Economy as well as Growing Efforts to Connect Eligible People with Benefits
Bolstering Food Stamp Program’s Reach and Counter-cyclical Impacts Should be Priority for Farm Bill

December 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Participation in the Food Stamp Program increased in December 2001 (the latest data available) by 246,070 persons from the previous month, to 18,746,286 persons, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. The December number represented a growth of 1.8 million persons compared to ten months earlier – February 2001. The growth from August to December was nearly one million.

Increases in participation likely have been driven by improved access to the program in some states, and by the weakened economy as well as growing numbers of layoffs, causing more households to apply, especially after the terrible events of September 11, 2001. Oregon, a state that has made a range of efforts to reach eligible people, has seen its participation increase by more than one-third in the last year.

“The growing need combined with the fact that participation is still down so much over the last five years shows how urgent it is that the Farm Bill now in a Senate-House Conference Committee include the full range of provisions intended to reach more needy people in the Food Stamp Program,” said James Weill, FRAC President.

The official unemployment rate rose in December, to 5.8 percent, representing 8.3 million unemployed persons (seasonally adjusted). In December, the services industry lost another 77,000 jobs, for the fifth consecutive monthly decline.

The December 2001 level of Food Stamp Program participation represented a rise of approximately 1.6 million persons over the December 2000 level, but was still more than the nearly 1.8 million persons lower than the level four years earlier in December 1997, and nearly 5.2 million below the level in December 1996, before the 1996 welfare law was widely implemented.
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November 2001

Food Stamp Participation Increases in November 2001 for Eighth Straight Month
Recent Trends Likely to Reflect the Weakening Economy as well as Growing Efforts to Connect Eligible People with Benefits
Bolstering Food Stamp Program’s Reach and Counter-cyclical Impacts Should be Priorities for Nation and States

November 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Participation in the Food Stamp Program increased in November 2001 (the latest data available) by 72,013 persons from the previous month, to 18,513,528 persons, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. The November number represented a growth of 1.5 million persons compared to nine months earlier – February 2001. The November increase came on the heels of the nearly 600,000 person increase in October.

Increases in participation likely have been driven both by improved access to the program in some states, and by the recession and growing numbers of layoffs, causing more households to apply, especially after the terrible events of September 11, 2001. Oregon, a state that has made a range of efforts to reach eligible people, has seen its participation increase nearly one-third in the last year.

The official unemployment rate rose in November, to 5.7 percent, the highest level since August 1995. The services industry lost 70,000 jobs, on top of the October record loss of 111,000 jobs, the largest decline since the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting this data in 1939.

The November 2001 level of Food Stamp Program participation represented a rise of approximately 1.4 million persons over the November 2000 level, but was still more than the 2.1 million persons lower than the level four years earlier in November 1997, and 5.6 million below the level in November, 1996 before the 1996 welfare law was widely implemented.
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October 2001

Food Stamp Participation Increases in October 2001
Big October Jump is Largest in Ten Years
Recent Trends Seem to Reflect Both a Weakening Economy and Growing Efforts to Connect Eligible People with Benefits
Bolstering Food Stamp Program’s Reach and Counter-cyclical Impacts Should be Priorities for Nation and States

October 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Participation in the Food Stamp Program jumped in October 2001 (the latest data available) by 589,306 persons from the previous month, to 18,440,198 persons, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. A monthly increase this large hasn’t occurred since 1992, when participation increased by approximately 575,000 from August to September of that year. The October number represented a growth of nearly 1.5 million persons compared to eight months earlier – February 2001.

Increases in participation likely have been driven both by improved access to the program in some states, and by the recession and growing numbers of layoffs, causing more households to apply, especially after the terrible events of September 11, 2001. Oregon, a state that has made a range of efforts to reach eligible people, has seen its participation increase nearly one-third in the last year.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent (seasonally adjusted) in both August and September, but increased to 5.4 in October, the highest level since December 1996. Further, the number of newly unemployed persons, those unemployed for less than five weeks, rose by 401,000 to 3.2 million in October.

The services industry lost 111,000 jobs in October, the largest decline since the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting this data in 1939. After the September 11th attacks, employment declines accelerated quickly in travel-related industries, including hotels, auto rentals, and parking services.

The October 2001 level of Food Stamp Program participation represented a rise of approximately 1.4 million persons over the October 2000 level, but was still more than nearly 6 million persons lower than the level five years earlier.
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September 2001

Food Stamp Participation Increases in September 2001
Recent Trends Seem to Reflect Both a Weakening Economy and Growing Efforts to Connect Eligible People with Benefits
Bolstering Food Stamp Program’s Reach and Counter-cyclical Impacts Should be Priorities for Nation and States

September 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Participation in the Food Stamp Program increased in September 2001 (the latest data available) by 76,217 persons from the previous month, to 17,850,892 persons, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. The September number represented a growth of nearly 900,000 persons compared to seven months earlier – February 2001. Increases in participation likely have been driven both by improved access to the program in some states, and by the economic slowdown and layoffs, causing more households to apply, especially after the terrible events of September 11th. Oregon, a state that has made a range of efforts to reach eligible people, has seen its participation increase nearly one-third in the last year.

The September 2001 level of Food Stamp Program participation represented a rise of 834,053 persons over the September 2000 level, but was still more than 7 million persons lower than the level five years earlier.

It is likely that little of the economic impact of the September 11th events shows up in the September numbers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent (seasonally adjusted) in both August and September), but increased to 5.4 and 5.7 percent, respectively, in October and November.
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August 2001

Food Stamp Participation Increases in August 2001
Recent Trends Seem to Reflect Both a Weakening Economy and Growing Efforts to Connect Eligible People with Benefits
Bolstering Food Stamp Program’s Reach and Counter-cyclical Impacts Should be Priorities for Nation and States

August 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Participation in the Food Stamp Program jumped in August 2001 (the latest data available) by 217,049 persons from the previous month, to 17,774,675 persons, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. The August number represented a growth of more than 800,000 persons compared to six months earlier – February 2001. Recent increases in participation likely have been driven both by improved access to the program in some states, and by the economic slowdown and layoffs, causing more households to apply, even before the terrible events of September.

The August 2001 level of Food Stamp Program participation represented a rise of 764,690 persons over the August 2000 level, but was still more than the 7.1 million persons lower than the level five years earlier.

Further Food Stamp Program investments could bolster the program’s short-term counter-cyclical impact for national and local economies and hard-hit families.
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July 2001

Food Stamp Participation Increases Again in July 2001
Recent Trends Reflect Both a Weakening Economy and Efforts to Connect
Eligible People with Benefits Bolstering Food Stamp Program’s Reach and Counter-cyclical Impacts Should be Priorities for Nation and States

July 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Participation in the Food Stamp Program grew in July 2001 (the latest data available) by 104,195 persons from the previous month, to 17,557,170 persons, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. The July number is a growth of more than 600,000 persons compared to five months earlier – February 2001. Recent increases in participation likely have been driven both by improved access to the program in some states, and by the economic slowdown and layoffs, even before the terrible events of September.

The July 2001 level of Food Stamp Program participation represents a rise of 678,052 persons over the July 2000 level, but was still more than the 7.4 million persons lower than the level five years earlier.

Further Food Stamp Program investments could bolster the program’s short-term counter-cyclical impact for national and local economies and hard-hit families.
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June 2001

Food Stamp Participation Rises From June 2000 to June 2001
Despite Increase in Last Year, Caseload Drops by 7.7 Million From June 1996 to June 2001
Studies From U.S. Conference of Mayors, Catholic Charities USA and Others Show Persistent Need

June 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Program Participation Trends

Participation in the Food Stamp Program increased in June 2001 from the previous month to 17,452,975 persons, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. The June 2001 level of participation represents a rise over the June 2000 level of 402,637 persons. Despite this increase over the last year, June 2001 Food Stamp participation was down by over 7.7 million persons compared to five years earlier.

Thirty-four states posted some increase in June over the previous year. These include states, such as Wisconsin and Oregon, whose improvements may be linked to Food Stamp Outreach Activities.

Troubling Factors

The five-year trends are particularly troubling in light of studies that document continuing high rates of food insecurity and heavy demands for emergency food assistance (reported by USDA, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Catholic Charities USA), as well as research showing that many individuals and families leaving the Food Stamp Program remain eligible and in need of assistance.

Some reduction in poverty and improvement in the overall unemployment rate contributed to Food Stamp Program caseload declines in the period from 1996 to 2000, but less positive factors, including negative program changes, interactions with the cash public assistance system that make food stamp access hard for eligible families, and lack of information explained much of the drop.

Recent increases in participation likely have been driven both by improved access to the program in some states, and by the recent economic slow down and layoffs.

By August 22, 1997 most legal immigrants also lost eligibility for federal food stamp benefits; some immigrants were made newly eligible November 1, 1998, but a majority remained barred from the program. The period after March 1997 also was marked by implementation of cuts in Food Stamp Program eligibility for many childless, jobless adults. Implementation of the new, separate Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program established by the 1996 welfare law has had unintended, adverse affects on the Food Stamp Program, as families lost food stamps (for which they were still eligible) at the same time that they lost TANF. According to a July 2001 report to Congress, USDA reports that over half (56 percent) of caseload declines between 1994 and 1999 “occurred because fewer eligible individuals participated in the program.” Further, USDA finds, “nearly a quarter of all leavers experienced hunger in the first year after leaving the Food Stamp Program.”

Persistence of Hunger

Thirty-one million Americans — 12 million of them children — still suffer from hunger or live on the edge of hunger, according to food insecurity data for 1999 reported by the Census Bureau and USDA – the latest available data.

According to USCM, in 2000 requests for emergency food assistance increased in 83 percent of survey cities; across the cities, increases averaged 17 percent.

The number of people receiving emergency food assistance from soup kitchens, food banks and other food services operated by Catholic Charities agencies surged 32 percent in 1999, according to Catholic Charities USA.

Gaps in Coverage

· Four out of ten of those eligible for the Food Stamp Program are not receiving benefits, according to USDA’s July 2001 report to Congress. From 1994 to 1999, the Food Stamp Program participation rate fell from 74 percent to 57 percent.
· A July 1999 report prepared for USDA by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. identified lack of client information as a barrier to participation: among non-participating persons eligible for food stamp benefits surveyed in late 1996, nearly three-quarters (72%) were not aware that they were eligible.
· A General Accounting Office (GAO) report released in August 1999 found that “food stamp participation has dropped faster than related economic indicators would predict. Furthermore, GAO points out, “There is a growing gap between the number of children living in poverty–an important indicator of children’s need for food assistance–and the number of children receiving food stamp assistance.”
· The Urban Institute’s report, “Are the Steep Declines in Food Stamp Participation Linked to Falling Welfare Caseloads?” analyzes a survey of families with children under 18 that had received food stamps at some point between January 1995 and the interview period (February-October 1997). “About two-thirds of the families that left the Food Stamp program were still eligible for food stamps,” according to the survey. A follow up study of those leaving in 1999 revealed: 1) that a significantly larger share of families reported leaving for administrative problems or hassles; and 2) that those families with incomes below the poverty level that did not continue receiving food stamps were significantly more likely to own a car and to have moved in the last year. (See Urban Institute’s “Former Welfare Families and the Food Stamp Program: The Exodus Continues,” April 2001.)
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May 2001

Food Stamp Participation Rises From May 2000 to May 2001
Despite Increase in Last Year, Caseload Drops by 8.3 Million From May 1996 to May 2001
Studies From U.S. Conference of Mayors, Catholic Charities USA and Others Show Persistent Need

May 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Program Participation Trends

Participation in the Food Stamp Program jumped in May 2001 from the previous month to 17,243,978 persons, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. The May 2001 level of participation represents a rise over the May 2000 level of 227,307 persons. Despite this increase over the last year, May 2001 Food Stamp participation was down by over 8.3 million persons compared to 5 years earlier.

Thirty-three states posted some increase in May over the previous year. These include states, such as Wisconsin and Oregon, whose improvements may be linked to Food Stamp Outreach Activities.
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April 2001

April 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

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March 2001

Food Stamp Participation Drops by Over 8.6 Million From March 1996 to March 2001
Some States Begin to Show Positive Trends
Studies From U.S. Conference of Mayors, Catholic Charities USA and Others Show Persistent Need

March 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Program Participation Trends

Participation in the Food Stamp Program rose in March 2001 to an average of 17,255,792, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. Compared with March 2000 and March 1996 levels, participation was down by 34,789 and over 8.6 million persons, respectively.

Twenty-nine states did post some increase over the previous year. These include states, such as Wisconsin and Oregon, whose improvements may be linked to outreach and other initiatives. Commenting on prior caseload increases, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development Jennifer Reinert said, “This is a true testament to the extensive outreach efforts that have taken place at the department to ensure people are aware of the availability of food stamp benefits and making it easier for them to apply for benefits at a location close to home.” (Source: press release dated September 20, 2000.)
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February 2001

Food Stamp Participation Drops by Over 8.8 Million From February 1996 to February 2001
Some States Begin to Show Positive Trends
Studies From U.S. Conference of Mayors, Catholic Charities USA and Others Show Persistent Need

February 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Program Participation Trends

Participation in the Food Stamp Program fell in February 2001 to an average of 16,955,435, according to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA. Compared with February 2000 and February 1996 levels, participation was down by 237,900 and over 8.8 million persons, respectively.

Twenty-six states did post some increase over the previous year. These include states, such as Wisconsin and Oregon, whose improvements may be linked to outreach and other initiatives. Commenting on prior caseload increases, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development Jennifer Reinert said, “This is a true testament to the extensive outreach efforts that have taken place at the department to ensure people are aware of the availability of food stamp benefits and making it easier for them to apply for benefits at a location close to home.” (Source: press release dated September 20, 2000.)
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January 2001

Food Stamp Participation Drops by Over 8.6 Million From January 1996 to January 2001
Some States Begin to Show Positive Trends
Studies From U.S. Conference of Mayors, Catholic Charities USA and Others Show Persistent Need

January 2001 participation data tables (pdf)

Program Participation Trends
Participation in the Food Stamp Program rose over the month by 68,171 persons, to an average of 17,233,964. That level is still below those of previous years but does indicate abatement in the steep declines of recent years.

According to FRAC’s analysis of preliminary data from USDA, program participation rose over the year, by 109,449 from January 2000 to January 2001, but was largely due to the jump in ice storm disaster relief cases in Oklahoma. Compared with January 1996 levels, participation was down by over 8.6 million persons.

Twenty-eight states posted some increase over the previous year. Some states, such as Wisconsin and Oregon, have shown improvements that may be linked to outreach and other initiatives. Commenting on prior caseload increases, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development Jennifer Reinert said, “This is a true testament to the extensive outreach efforts that have taken place at the department to ensure people are aware of the availability of food stamp benefits and making it easier for them to apply for benefits at a location close to home.” (Source: press release dated September 20, 2000.)

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