Food Stamps Statistics

While food stamp statistics vary throughout the U.S., more than 40 million Americans currently receive food-related benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

This accounts for around 12.4 percent of the U.S. population. While national food stamp program statistics show that the number of SNAP beneficiaries has increased since the inception of the program, the total number of participants has declined slightly in recent years. Moreover, the food stamp program cost per beneficiary has increased since the inception of the program.

For instance, the average monthly benefit amount was $6.63 per participant in 1969, with a low benefit amount of $6.40 in November of that fiscal year and a high of $6.86 in February. By the year 1979, the average monthly benefit amount increased to $30.59 per participant. Today, the average monthly benefit amount is around $126 per beneficiary or $255 per household. To learn more about how the national food stamps program has changed throughout the years, review the sections below.

According to food stamp statistics, how many SNAP participants are there?

According to recent SNAP program statistics, approximately 40,644,363 beneficiaries currently receive SNAP payments. Today’s food stamp program statistics show that the number of SNAP participants has steadily increased since the inception of the program. In July of 1968, for instance, around 2,472,924 Americans received SNAP benefits, followed by a total number of 2,866,558 participants in January of 1969. By the end of the 1969 fiscal year, around 2,878,113 beneficiaries were receiving food stamps. In 1972, however, there were around 11,109,074 participants, with about 18,548,715 total beneficiaries by the year 1976. By 1981, the number of SNAP participants increased to around 22,429,574.

Related Article: History of Food Stamps

As per recent SNAP statistics, the total number of food stamp beneficiaries has increased since 1968, but the number of program participants has declined slightly between 2015 and 2018. For instance, there were 45,766,672 SNAP participants during the 2015 fiscal year (22,522,261 households) and 44,219,363 beneficiaries in 2016 (21,777,938 households). During the 2017 fiscal year, however, there were 42,123,301 program participants (20,836,016 households), with 40,644,363 SNAP beneficiaries as of October 5, 2018 (20,208,208 households).

How do food stamp program statistics vary by state?

SNAP program statistics vary throughout the U.S., as some states have more participants than others. For instance, states with the greatest number of SNAP participants include:

  • California. As of July of 2018, there were 3,871,003 SNAP beneficiaries in California (1,923,253 households), a slight decrease from the number of 4,021,166 beneficiaries in July of 2017 (1,951,592 households).
  • Florida. As of July of 2018, there were 3,005,762 SNAP recipients in Florida (1,611,450 households), a slight decrease from the number of 3,115,778 beneficiaries in July of 2017 (1,654,489 households).
  • New York. As of July of 2018, there were 2,756,993 SNAP beneficiaries in New York (1,549,426 households), in comparison to the 2,880,757 beneficiaries in July of 2017 (1,597,548 households).
  • Texas. As of July of 2018, there were 3,616,565 SNAP recipients in Texas (1,543,618 households), in comparison to the 3,756,058 beneficiaries in July of 2017 (1,593,222 households).

According to national food stamp statistics, states with the lowest number of SNAP participants include New Hampshire (84,182 beneficiaries in July of 2018), North Dakota (51,457 in July of 2018), South Dakota (85,068 in July of 2018), Vermont (71,022 in July of 2018) and Wyoming (27,915 in July of 2018). In Guam, there were 44,986 participants in July of 2018 and just 28,411 SNAP beneficiaries in the Virgin Islands.

How have food stamp program costs changed over the years?

SNAP program costs have also increased since the federal program began in 1969. During the 1969 fiscal year, for instance, the average benefit amount per person was just $6.63 per month. Between 1970 and 1971, this amount rose from $10.55 per person, per month to $13.55 monthly. Between 1972 and 1988, however, the average benefit amount rose from $13.48 per person to $49.83 per beneficiary.

Today, monthly food stamp costs are about $126 per person or $255 per household. For instance:

  • During the 2015 fiscal year, the average monthly benefit amount was $126.81 per person, or $257.69 per household.
  • During the 2016 fiscal year, the average monthly benefit amount was $125.40 per person, or $254.61 per household.
  • During the 2017 fiscal year, the average monthly benefit amount was $125.83 per person, or $254.38 per household.
  • As of October 5, 2018, the average monthly benefit amount is around $125.63 per person, or $252.68 per household.

In addition to the food stamp program costs per beneficiary, benefit amounts totaled $69,645,138,228 during the 2015 fiscal year and $66,539,351,219 during the 2016 fiscal year. Between the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, the total cost of SNAP benefits decreased from $63,603,658,202 to $51,062,337,374.

Other Food Stamp Program Statistics

In addition to the SNAP program statistics, around 8,258,413 Americans received benefits under the nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) during the 2014 fiscal year. While there were around 8,023,742 WIC participants during the 2015 fiscal year, this number fell to 7,696,439 beneficiaries in 2016. In 2017, however, around 7,286,161 qualifying women and children received WIC benefits. As for WIC program costs and benefit amounts, the average benefit amount was $43.64 in 2014, $43.37 in 2015, $42.76 in 2016 and $41.23 in 2017.

Moreover, other food stamp program statistics pertain to the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and Summer Food Service. During the 2017 fiscal year, for instance, around 29,991,934 participants received benefits under the National School Lunch Program, a slight decrease from 30,683,200 participants in 2013. Of the total number of participants who received benefits in 2017, most live in states such as California (3,215,762), Florida (1,715,901), Georgia (1,211,207), Illinois (1,059,266), New York (1,663,296), Pennsylvania (1,021,156) and Texas (3,348,977).

As for food program statistics for the School Breakfast Program, there were around 14,658,490 participants during the 2017 fiscal year, a slight increase from the number of 13,202,612 beneficiaries in 2013. Of those who received benefits in 2017, most live in states such as California (1,727,064) and Texas (1,909,051).

Moreover, there were around 2,645,498 Summer Food Service participants during the 2017 fiscal year, a slight increase from the number of 2,425,434 beneficiaries in 2013. In 2017, most of these students resided in states such as California (152,251), Florida (229,220), New York (416,749) and Texas (113,605).

Related Article: Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

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