May 19, 2022

By clear majorities, urban and rural Americans support expanding SNAP benefits permanently,[1] according to a recent Purdue University Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability (CFDAS) survey of 1,200 Americans across the country. The same poll found that nearly 1 in 7 (14.2%) of those surveyed reported being food insecure; the food insecurity rate among rural respondents was nearly 1 in 4 (23%).

Federally-funded SNAP Emergency Allotments (EAs) that boost SNAP benefits are still in place in most states, the District of Columbia, and territories, but are set to sunset when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Pandemic Public Health Emergency Declaration (PHE) is terminated. Unless Congress acts, however, when the PHE expires, on average, most SNAP households will lose $82 a person, a month, in SNAP benefits.

According to CFDAS survey respondents, affordability is nearly as important a factor as taste and nutrition when they are food shopping. On average, survey respondents’ household food expenditures are an estimated $24.60 a day.[2] That dwarfs the average amounts that SNAP provides households to augment their purchasing power. When SNAP EAs end, average SNAP benefits will fall from about $8 a person, a day, to about $5.50 a person, a day.

Food Hardship in Rural America and Marginalized Communities

Purdue researchers examined food hardship in rural America, where residents reported “higher rates of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.” CFDAS data suggest rural households are more likely living paycheck to paycheck, which CFDAS researchers note, “aligns with higher risks of food insecurity.”

Purdue professor Jayson Lusk explained, “As one might expect, current economic conditions appear to have further disadvantaged [rural households]. For example, they face not only significantly higher food prices today than four months ago, but higher gas prices are likely affecting purchasing decisions among those who have to drive many miles to a grocery store.”

In addition, according to CFDAS scientist Sam Polzin, “minority and marginalized people in rural communities historically face even higher rates of food insecurity.” Numerous other studies also document disturbing racial disparities in rates of food hardship.[3]

Take Action to Address the Hunger Cliff

Join FRAC in urging members of Congress to sponsor and pass legislation to address the hunger cliff.

Priority SNAP bills include those to boost SNAP benefits permanently (H.R. 4007/S. 2192), abolish SNAP time limits that undercut access for unemployed and underemployed people (H.R. 1753), permanently make college students’ SNAP access more equitable (H.R. 1919/S. 2515) and allow use of SNAP benefits for purchasing hot foods (H.R. 6338).

Send an email or share a social media post using FRAC’s Action Network.

[1] The food policy was worded “Permanently extend and expand pandemic-related changes to SNAP that increase benefits and lower barriers to participation.”  See Jayson L. Lusk and Sam Polzin. “Consumer Food Insights,” Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability, Purdue University College of Agriculture, Vol.1, Issue 4, April 2022, at p. 15

[2] FRAC’s daily estimate is based on CFDAS respondents’ reporting on their weekly food purchases ($172.20 a week on food ($110 a week for food at home and $63 a week for restaurant and carry-out meals). See at p.6

[3] See, e.g., Food Research & Action Center, “Hunger, Poverty, and Health Disparities During COVID-19 and the Federal Nutrition Programs’ Role in an Equitable Recovery,” Sept. 2021, Native American Agriculture Fund, Food Research & Action Center, and University of Arkansas Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, “Reimagining Hunger Responses in Times of Crisis”.; and Elaine Waxman et al, “More Than One in Six Adults Were Food Insecure Two Months into the COVID-19 Recession,” Urban Institute,  July 2020,