In November 2009, the New York Times published an excellent article on the SNAP program. Along with the article, the Times included data on SNAP participation in June 2009 for most counties in the U.S.
This is an important source of information and a valuable tool for advocates, policymakers, and SNAP administrators. FRAC has taken the Times data and developed a county-by-county comparison of SNAP participation to the low-income population. The purpose is to estimate for each county the share of low-income population under 125 percent of poverty being reached by SNAP.
We believe that this comparison will be a useful tool to identify areas in states that are underperforming
in getting SNAP/Food Stamps to significant percentages of their low-income residents.
There are some limitations to using these data, which we discuss in more detail in the “Charts” pdf (see box). Despite these limitations, however, we encourage advocates, policymakers, SNAP administrators, outreach providers and others to use these data as the jumping-off point to examine SNAP/Food Stamp penetration within a state. Stakeholders can compare better and worse performing parts of a state and identify best practices and seek remedial actions for the most underperforming areas.