The SNAP Effect: Lifting Households Out of Poverty

For struggling families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) is making a huge difference.  Reports from the U.S. Census Bureau and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service show how SNAP benefits can lift people out of poverty.

Nationally, 3.9 million people – 1.7 million children – were lifted above the poverty line in 2011 under the alternative computation that counts SNAP benefits, according to the Census Bureau’s latest report on poverty and income in the United States.

A new report from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) details the characteristics of SNAP participants in FY 2011, including the percentage of households in each state whose incomes were lifted above the poverty level by receipt of SNAP benefits.

According to the FNS report, the ten states where SNAP made the largest percentage point difference in lifting households above 101 percent of the poverty level were New York (32.2), Massachusetts (26.8), Vermont (22.9), Rhode Island (21.5), South Dakota (18.2), Wisconsin (17.5), Hawaii (17), Connecticut (15.7), Maine (15.6), and Michigan (15.6).

FRAC’s state-by-state analysis:

Ten States Where SNAP Lifted the Largest Percentage of Households Out of Poverty
Ten States Where SNAP Made the Largest Percentage Difference in Lifting Households Out of Poverty

Effect of SNAP Benefits on the Poverty Status of SNAP Households (pdf)