Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2001 . Food Stamp Program

03/01/2001

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, is the largest food assistance program in the country, reaching more poor individuals over the course of a year than any other public assistance program.  Unlike many other public assistance programs, the Food Stamp Program has few categorical requirements for eligibility, such as the presence of children, elderly or disabled individuals in a household.  As a result, the program offers assistance to a large and diverse population of needy persons, many of whom are not eligible for other forms of assistance.

The Food Stamp Program was designed primarily to increase the food purchasing power of eligible low-income households to the point where they can buy a nutritionally adequate low-cost diet.  Participating households are expected to be able to devote 30 percent of their counted monthly cash income (after adjusting for various deductions) to food purchases.  Food stamp benefits then make up the difference between the household’s expected contribution to its food costs and an amount judged to be sufficient to buy an adequate low-cost diet.  This amount, the maximum food stamp benefit level, is derived from USDA’s lowest-cost food plan, the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP).

The Federal government is responsible for virtually all of the rules that govern the program, and, with limited variations, these rules are nationally uniform, as are the benefit levels.  Nonetheless, States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, through their local welfare offices, have primary responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the program.  They determine eligibility, calculate benefits, and issue food stamp allotments.  The Food Stamp Act provides 100 percent federal funding of food stamp benefits.  States and other jurisdictions have responsibility for about half the cost of state and local food stamp agency administration.

In addition to the regular Food Stamp Program, the Food Stamp Act authorizes alternative programs in Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.  The largest of these, the Nutrition Assistance Program in Puerto Rico, had an average of 1.2 million participants in 1999, funded under a Federal block grant of $1.2 billion.  Unless noted otherwise, the food stamp caseload and expenditure data in this Appendix include costs for the Nutrition Assistance Program in Puerto Rico.  Prior to 1982, the regular Food Stamp Program operated in Puerto Rico, under modified eligibility and benefit rules.

The Food Stamp Program has financial, employment/training-related and “categorical” tests for eligibility.  The basic food stamp beneficiary unit is the “household.”  Generally, individuals living together constitute a single food stamp household if they customarily purchase food and prepare meals together.  Members of the same household must apply together, and their income, expenses, and assets normally are aggregated in determining food stamp eligibility and benefits.  Except for households composed entirely of TANF, SSI, or general assistance recipients (who generally are automatically eligible for food stamps), monthly cash income is the primary food stamp eligibility determinant.  Unless exempt, adult applicants for food stamps must register for work, typically with the welfare agency or a state employment service office.  To maintain eligibility, they must accept a suitable job if offered one and fulfill any work, job search, or training requirements established by the administering welfare agencies.

Food stamp benefits are a function of a household’s size, its net monthly income, its assets, and maximum monthly benefit levels.  Allotments are not taxable and food stamp purchases may not be charged sales taxes.  Receipt of food stamps does not affect eligibility for or benefits provided by other welfare programs, although some programs use food stamp participation as a “trigger” for eligibility and others take into account the general availability of food stamps in deciding what level of benefits to provide.

Recent Legislative and Regulatory Changes.

Title IV and Subtitle A of title VIII of the PRWORA contains major and extensive revisions to the Food Stamp Program, including strong work requirements on able-bodied adults without dependents, restricted benefits for legal immigrants, and a reduction in maximum benefits.  These three provisions, and subsequent amendments, are discussed below; their impact on program participation and expenditures begins to appear in food stamp administrative data for 1997, with the fuller impact shown in data for 1998.

First, a new work requirement was added for able-bodied adult food stamp recipients without dependents (ABAWDs).  Unless exempt, ABAWDs between the ages of 18 and 50 are not eligible for benefits for more than 3 months in every 36-month period unless they are  (1) working at least 20 hours a week; (2) participating in and complying with a work program for at least 20 hours a week; or (3) participating in and complying with a workfare program.  Under the original legislation, the Department of Agriculture was authorized to waive application of the work requirement to any group of individuals at the request of the state agency, if a determination is made that the area where they reside has an unemployment rate over 10 percent or does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide them employment.  The provision was further moderated under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-33), which allowed states to exempt up to 15 percent of the ABAWD caseload (beyond those subject to waivers) and which increased funds for the Food Stamp employment and training program for the creation of job slots for able-bodied adults subject to time limits.

Separately, title IV of PRWORA made significant changes in the eligibility of noncitizens for Food Stamp benefits.  As first enacted, most qualified aliens (including legal immigrants -- illegal aliens are already ineligible) were barred from Food Stamps until citizenship.  Subsequently, the Agriculture Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-185] restored food stamp eligibility to certain groups of qualified aliens who were legally residing in the United States before passage of PRWORA (August 22, 1996).  Specifically, the ban on food stamp eligibility was lifted for children, the disabled and people who were 65 on August 22, 1996.

Finally, the 1996 legislation restrained growth in future program expenditures by making changes in the benefit structure for eligible participants, including a reduction in the maximum food stamp allotment.  Other provisions of the 1996 act disqualified from eligibility those convicted of drug-related felonies and gave states the option to disqualify individuals, both custodial and noncustodial parents, from food stamps when they do not cooperate with child support agencies or are in arrears in their child support.

Recent regulatory and legislative changes have been made to increase access to food stamps among working poor families.  Regulatory changes announced in July 1999 and expanded in November 2000 allow states to reduce reporting requirements and make it easier for working families to report income changes on a semi-annual basis.  Under the November 2000 regulations, states also have the option of providing a three-month transitional food stamp benefit to most families leaving TANF.  In addition, the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for 2001 (P.L. 106-387) provides states with the option of liberalizing the treatment of vehicle assets to align with the states’ TANF rules on vehicle eligibility.  These changes were intended to address concerns that some of the decline in food stamp caseloads may be leaving poor families without nutritional assistance as they make the transition from welfare dependence to full self-sufficiency.

Food Stamp Program Data.

The following six tables and accompanying figure provide information about the Food Stamp Program, including information about the Nutrition Assistance Program in Puerto Rico:

  • Tables FSP 1-2 and Figure FSP 1 present national caseload and expenditure trend data on the Food Stamp program, as discussed below;
  • Table FSP 3 presents some demographic characteristics of the food stamp caseload; and
  • Tables FSP 4-6 present some state-by-state trend data on the Food Stamp program through fiscal year 1999.

Food Stamp Caseload Trends (Tables FSP 1-2).  Average monthly food stamp participation (including participants in Puerto Rico’s block grant) has continued to fall from its peak of 28.9 million in an average month in 1994 to an average of 19.3 million persons in 1999.  Both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population, food stamp recipiency is lower than at any point in the past twenty years.  See also Table IND 3b and Table IND 4b in Chapter II for further data on the recent decline in food stamp recipiency and participation rates.

Considerable research has demonstrated that the Food Stamp program is responsive to economic changes, with participation increasing in times of economic downturns and decreasing in times of economic growth (see Figure FSP 1).  Economic conditions alone did not explain the caseload growth in the late 1980s and early 1990s, however.  A Congressionally mandated study in 1990 concluded that a variety of factors contributed to this caseload growth, including expansions in Medicaid eligibility, and changes in immigration laws, particularly the legalization of undocumented aliens, as well as a rise in unemployment (McConell, 1991).  Longer spells of participation also contributed to the caseload increase, according to an analysis of longitudinal data from the Survey on Income and Program Participation.  (Gleason, 1998).

Economic conditions were a significant factor in explaining the drop in food stamp caseload since 1994, according to an Economic Research Service review of recent research (ERS, 2000).  Several econometric models suggest that economic variables explain between 25 and 44 percent of the decline in caseload.  The full effect of the economy may be even higher, to the extent that some of the unexplained variation in the models reflects local economic conditions not captured in state-level economic variables.

Policy changes, most notably the enactment of the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996, have also contributed to the recent decline in food stamp caseload.  The most direct impact was the elimination of eligibility for most legal immigrants and for many childless adults aged 18-50.  Participation for these two groups fell sharply between 1994 and 1998 (Genser, 1999).  In addition, changes in TANF policy may have affected food stamp participation, although these effects are less certain.  Many studies of families leaving TANF cash assistance have found that many families leave the Food Stamp Program as well, despite appearing eligible for food stamp benefits.  Econometric studies of the effects of specific changes in TANF policy, however, have found that only a small share of the decline in state food stamp caseloads was associated with waviers to AFDC policies.  Increased stigma about welfare use and unintentional diversion from the Food Stamp Program may be additional factors affecting food stamp participation.  Finally, a study of trends in Food Stamp Program Participation rates (USDA, 2000) found that the program is reaching a smaller percentage of eligible individuals in 1998 than it did during the three previous years.

Food Stamp Expenditures.  Total program costs, shown in Table FSP 2, have declined in recent years, along with the decline in caseloads.  In fiscal year 1999, total program costs (including Puerto Rico) were $19 billion, reaching their lowest levels since 1980, after adjusting for inflation.  (Average monthly participation in fiscal year 1999 was 21.0 million).  Average monthly benefits per person have also declined in recent years after adjusting for inflation.  Benefits were $72 per person in fiscal year 1999, considerably lower than the $82 per person benefit (in constant dollars) paid in 1992, but higher than the $68 per person paid in 1987.

Food Stamp Household Characteristics.  As shown in FSP 3, the proportion of food stamp households with earnings has increased, from about 20 percent for most of the 1980s and early 1990s, to 26 percent in 1998 and 27 percent in 1999.  At the same time, the proportion of households with income from AFDC/TANF has declined, from 42 percent in 1982 to 27 percent in 1999, following the dramatic decline in AFDC/TANF caseloads.  Over half of all food stamp households have children, although the proportion has declined somewhat from over 60 percent in most of the 1980s and 1990s to 56 percent in 1999.  The vast majority (89 percent) of households have incomes below the federal poverty guidelines.

Figure FSP 1.  Persons Receiving Food Stamps

Figure FSP 1.  Persons Receiving Food Stamps

Note:  Shaded areas are periods of recession.
Sources:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, National Data Bank.


Table FSP 1. Trends in Food Stamp Caseloads, Selected Years 1962 – 1999

  FoodStamp Participants 1 Participants as a Percent of: Child Participants As a Percent of:
Fiscal Year Including Territories2(in thousands) Excluding Territories (in thousands) Children Excld Terr. (in thousands) Total Population3 All Poor Persons3 Pre-transfer Poverty Population4 Total Child Population3 Children in Poverty3
1962 6,554 6,554 NA 3.5 17.0 NA NA NA
1965 5,166 5,166 NA 2.7 15.5 NA NA NA
1970 8,277 8,277 NA 4.1 32.6 NA NA NA
1971 13,042 13,042 NA 6.3 51.0 NA NA NA
1972 14,102 14,102 NA 6.7 57.7 NA NA NA
1973 14,641 14,641 NA 6.9 63.7 NA NA NA
1974 14,784 14,765 NA 6.9 63.2 NA NA NA
1975 5 18,308 17,217 NA 8.0 66.2 NA NA NA
1976 18,240 16,733 9,126 7.7 66.7 NA 13.8 88.8
1977 17,014 15,579 NA 7.1 62.7 NA NA NA
1978 15,988 14,503 NA 6.5 58.9 NA NA NA
1979 6 17,682 15,976 NA 7.1 60.9 57.1 NA NA
1980 21,082 19,253 9,493 8.5 65.5 60.7 15.5 85.6
1981 22,430 20,654 9,674 9.0 64.6 60.8 15.5 78.4
1982 22,055 20,392 9,545 8.8 59.0 56.3 15.3 70.3
1983 23,195 21,667 10,783 9.3 61.1 58.5 17.4 78.4
1984 22,384 20,796 10,372 8.8 61.7 58.5 16.8 78.2
1985 21,379 19,847 9,824 8.3 60.0 56.6 15.8 76.1
1986 20,909 19,381 9,846 8.1 59.9 56.2 15.7 76.5
1987 20,583 19,072 9,765 7.9 59.2 55.6 15.5 75.4
1988 20,095 18,613 9,363 7.6 58.6 55.2 14.8 75.1
1989 20,266 18,778 9,429 7.6 59.6 55.6 14.9 74.9
1990 21,547 20,038 10,127 8.0 59.7 55.7 15.8 75.4
1991 24,115 22,599 11,952 9.0 63.3 59.3 18.4 83.3
1992 26,886 25,369 13,349 9.9 66.7 64.0 20.2 87.3
1993 28,422 26,952 14,196 10.5 68.6 63.8 21.2 90.3
1994 28,879 27,434 14,391 10.5 72.2 66.9 21.2 94.1
1995 27,989 26,579 13,860 10.1 73.0 67.6 20.2 94.5
1996 26,872 25,494 13,189 9.6 69.9 64.7 19.1 91.2
1997 24,148 22,820 11,847 8.5 64.3 60.0 17.0 83.9
1998 20,970 19,746 10,524 7.3 57.4 57.9 15.1 78.1
1999 19,322 18,149 9,354 6.7 56.4 52.6 13.3 77.2

1 Total participants includes all participating States, the District of Columbia, and the territories (including Puerto Rico).  The number of child participants includes only the participating States and D.C. (the territories are not included).  From 1962 to 1983 the number of participants includes the Family Food Assistance Program (FFAP) which was largely replaced by the Food Stamp program in 1975.  The FFAP participants (as of December) for the seven years shown during the period from 1962 to 1974 were respectively: 6,411;  4,742;  3,977;  3,642;  3,002;  2,441;  and 1,406 (all in thousands).  From 1975 to 1983 the number of FFAP participants averaged only 88 thousand.  The monthly average number of participants for 1970-76 is computed as an average from October of the prior calendar year to September, the span of the fiscal year since 1977.
2 Participation figures in column 1 from 1982 on include enrollment in Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program (averaging 1.2 to 1.5 million persons a month under the nutrition assistance grant and higher figures in earlier years under Food Stamps) as shown in Table FSP 5.
3 Includes all participating States and the District of Columbia only — the territories are excluded from both numerator and denominator.  Population numbers used as denominators are the resident population — see Current Population Reports, Series P25-1106. For the persons living in poverty used as denominators, see Current Population Reports, Series P60-210.
4 The pretransfer poverty population used as denominator is the number of all persons in families or living alone whose income (cash income plus social insurance plus Social Security but before taxes and means-tested transfers) falls below the appropriate poverty threshold. See Appendix J, Table 20, 1992 Green Book; data for subsequent years are unpublished Congressional Budget Office tabulations.
5 The first fiscal year in which food stamps were available nationwide.
6 The fiscal year in which the food stamp purchase requirement was eliminated, on a phased in basis.
Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, National Data Bank, the 1996 Green Book, and U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Poverty in the United States: 1999,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-210 and earlier years.


Table FSP 2.Trends in Food Stamp Expenditures, Selected Years 1975 – 1999

Fiscal Year Total Federal Cost Benefits2
(Federal)
Administration1 Total
Cost
Average Monthly
Benefit per Person
Current Dollars 1999 Dollars3 Federal State & Local Current Dollars 1999 Dollars3
[In millions] [In millions] [In millions] [In millions] [In millions] [In millions]    
1975....................... $5,037 $15,379 $4,798 $238 $180 $5,217 $19.60 $59.80
1976....................... 5,641 16,124 5,276 365 275 5,934 23.90 68.30
1977....................... 5,463 14,536 5,061 402 300 5,775 24.00 63.90
1978....................... 5,546 13,844 5,112 434 325 5,883 25.70 64.20
1979 4..................... 6,965 15,988 6,450 515 388 7,388 30.10 69.10
1980....................... 9,224 19,034 8,721 503 375 9,633 34.30 70.80
1981....................... 11,308 21,218 10,630 678 504 11,906 39.50 74.10
1982....................... 11,117 19,491 10,408 709 557 11,697 39.20 68.70
1983....................... 12,708 21,309 11,930 778 612 13,343 43.10 72.30
1984....................... 12,446 20,018 11,475 971 5 805 13,251 42.90 69.00
1985....................... 12,573 19,520 11,530 1,043 871 13,444 45.10 70.00
1986....................... 12,510 18,943 11,397 1,113 935 13,445 45.60 69.00
1987....................... 12,512 18,423 11,317 1,195 996 13,508 45.90 67.60
1988....................... 13,281 18,787 11,991 1,290 1,080 14,361 49.90 70.60
1989....................... 13,904 18,769 12,572 1,332 1,101 15,005 51.90 70.10
1990....................... 16,503 21,221 15,081 1,422 1,174 17,677 59.00 75.90
1991....................... 19,790 24,225 18,274 1,516 1,247 21,037 63.90 78.20
1992....................... 23,535 27,961 21,879 1,656 1,375 24,910 68.70 81.60
1993....................... 24,733 28,525 23,017 1,716 1,572 26,305 68.00 78.40
1994....................... 25,587 28,748 23,798 1,789 1,643 27,230 69.10 77.60
1995....................... 25,776 28,177 23,859 1,917 1,748 27,524 71.40 78.00
1996....................... 25,527 27,152 23,543 1,984 1,842 27,369 73.40 78.10
1997....................... 22,750 23,562 20,692 2,058 1,904 24,654 71.40 73.90
1998....................... 20,224 20,610 18,055 2,169 1,988 22,212 71.30 72.70
1999....................... 19,045 19,045 16,945 2,100 1,874 22,919 72.40 72.40

1 Amounts include the Federal share of state administrative and employment and training costs (including administrative costs of Puerto Rico's block grant) and certain direct Federal administrative costs.  They do not generally include approximately $60 million in food-stamp related federal administrative costs budgeted under a separate appropriation account (although estimates prior to 1989 do include estimates of food stamp related Federal administrative expenses paid out of other Agriculture Department accounts).  State and local costs are estimated based on the known Federal shares and represent an estimate of all administrative expenses of participating states (including Puerto Rico).
2 Benefit costs include the Food Stamp Program and Puerto Rico's nutritional assistance program and are based on unpublished data from the USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, National Data Bank (see Table FSP 4).
3 Constant dollar adjustments to 1999 level were made using a CPI-U-X1 fiscal year average price index.
4 The fiscal year in which the food stamp purchase requirement was eliminated, on a phased in basis.
5 Beginning 1984 USDA took over from DHHS the administrative cost of certifying public assistance households for food stamps.
Note: Total federal cost includes food stamps in Puerto Rico (1975-1981) and funding for Puerto Rico's nutrition assistance grant (1982-present). Average benefit figures, however, do not reflect the lower benefits in Puerto Rico under either the food stamp program from 1975 to 1981 or its nutrition assistance program since 1982.
Source: USDA, Food and Nutrition Service unpublished data from the National Data Bank; and the 2000 Green Book.


Table FSP 3. Characteristics of Food Stamp Households, 1980 - 1999 [In percent]

Year 1
  1980 1984 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1997 1998 1999
With Gross Monthly Income:                    
Below the Federal Poverty Levels..... 87 93 92 92 92 90 91 91 90 89
Between the Poverty Levels and 130                    
Percent of the Poverty Levels............ 10 6 8 8 8 9 8 8 9 10
Above 130 Percent of Poverty........... 2 1 * * * 1 1 1 1 1
With Earnings........................................ 19 19 20 19 21 21 23 24 26 27
With Public Assistance Income 2........... 65 71 72 73 66 69 67 67 65 63
With AFDC/TANF Income............... NA 42 42 43 40 38 37 35 31 27
With SSI Income............................... 18 18 20 19 19 23 24 26 28 30
With Children........................................ 60 61 61 61 62 61 60 58 58 56
And Female Heads of Household...... NA 47 50 51 51 51 50 49 47 46
With No Spouse Present ............ NA NA 39 37 44 43 43 42 41 40
With Elderly Members 3...................... 23 22 19 18 15 16 16 18 18 20
With Elderly Female Heads of                    
Household 3..................................... NA 16 14 11 9 11 NA NA NA NA
Average Household Size........................ 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.7 2.6 2.6 2.5 2.4 2.4 2.4

1 Data were gathered in August in the years 1980-84 and during the summer in the years from 1986 to 1994.  Reports from 1995 to the present are based on fiscal year averages.
2 Public assistance income includes AFDC, SSI, and general assistance.
3 Elderly members and heads of household include those of age 60 or older.
* Less than 0.5 percent.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition, and Evaluation, Characteristics of Food Stamp Households, Fiscal Year 1999 and earlier years.


Table FSP 4. Value of Food Stamps Issued by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1975 – 1999 [Millions of dollars]

  1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 1997 1998 1999
Alabama $108 $246 $318 $328 $441 $393 $357 $346
Alaska 7 27 25 25 50 52 50 49
Arizona 45 97 121 239 414 316 253 233
Arkansas 78 122 126 155 212 214 206 210
California 374 530 639 968 2,473 2,372 2,020 1,796
Colorado 48 71 94 156 217 182 157 145
Connecticut 38 59 62 72 169 170 161 150
Delaware 8 21 22 25 47 41 34 32
Dist. of Columbia 32 41 40 43 92 91 85 82
Florida 236 421 368 609 1,307 1,061 845 813
Georgia 144 264 290 382 700 597 538 514
Guam 3 15 18 15 24 27 34 31
Hawaii 26 60 93 81 177 189 178 180
Idaho 12 29 36 40 59 53 47 45
Illinois 259 394 713 835 1,056 933 844 767
Indiana 64 154 242 226 382 293 263 255
Iowa 29 54 107 109 142 125 109 103
Kansas 13 38 64 96 144 112 83 80
Kentucky 138 211 332 334 413 372 345 337
Louisiana 149 243 365 549 629 512 467 463
Maine 36 60 62 63 112 103 100 89
Maryland 79 140 171 203 365 319 282 237
Massachusetts 104 171 173 207 315 262 222 205
Michigan 132 263 541 663 806 678 588 515
Minnesota 43 62 105 165 240 193 181 172
Mississippi 115 199 264 352 383 313 254 232
Missouri 85 142 212 312 488 401 345 348
Montana 11 18 31 41 57 55 52 52
Nebraska 12 25 44 59 77 72 68 66
Nevada 11 15 22 41 91 74 63 56
New Hampshire 14 22 15 20 44 35 30 31
New Jersey 136 226 260 289 506 449 384 346
New Mexico 49 81 88 117 196 168 144 144
New York 233 726 938 1,086 2,065 1,778 1,505 1,464
North Carolina 139 234 237 282 495 478 421 435
North Dakota 5 9 16 25 32 29 25 26
Ohio 268 382 697 861 1,017 744 613 535
Oklahoma 40 73 134 186 315 256 231 221
Oregon 58 80 142 168 254 216 198 190
Pennsylvania 190 373 547 661 1,006 865 764 704
Puerto Rico 366 828 786 894 1,095 1,142 1,166 1,190
Rhode Island 19 31 35 42 82 70 57 61
South Carolina 126 181 194 240 297 281 264 251
South Dakota 8 18 26 35 40 39 37 37
Tennessee 126 282 280 372 554 475 437 425
Texas 319 514 701 1,429 2,246 1,765 1,425 1,255
Utah 13 22 40 71 90 78 75 73
Vermont 10 18 20 22 46 40 34 34
Virgin Islands 9 19 23 18 28 25 22 22
Virginia 70 158 189 247 450 379 307 282
Washington 71 90 140 229 417 386 308 260
West Virginia 57 87 159 192 253 239 224 208
Wisconsin 33 68 148 180 220 158 130 124
Wyoming 3 6 15 21 28 23 21 19
United States $4,798 $8,721 $11,530 $15,081 $23,859 $20,692 $18,055 $16,945

Source:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, unpublished data from the Food Stamp National Data Bank.


Table FSP 5. Average Number of Food Stamp Recipients by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1977 – 1999 [In thousands]

  1977 1981 1985 1989 1992 1994 1996 1999 Percent Change
1989-94 1994-99
Alabama 316 605 588 436 550 545 509 405 25 -26
Alaska 11 32 22 26 38 46 46 41 76 -10
Arizona 140 210 206 264 457 512 427 257 94 -50
Arkansas 213 305 253 227 277 283 274 253 24 -10
California 1,345 1,605 1,615 1,776 2,558 3,155 3,143 2,027 78 -36
Colorado 147 175 170 211 260 268 244 173 27 -35
Connecticut 178 175 145 114 202 223 223 178 96 -20
Delaware 26 56 40 30 51 59 58 39 99 -35
Dist. of Columbia 98 101 72 58 82 91 93 84 55 -7
Florida 728 957 630 668 1,404 1,474 1,371 933 121 -37
Georgia 459 654 567 485 754 830 793 617 71 -26
Guam 22 25 20 13 20 15 18 20 21 30
Hawaii 108 104 99 78 94 115 130 125 47 9
Idaho 33 64 59 61 72 82 80 57 34 -30
Illinois 922 984 1,110 990 1,156 1,189 1,105 820 20 -31
Indiana 196 405 406 285 448 518 390 298 82 -42
Iowa 108 163 203 168 192 196 177 129 16 -34
Kansas 62 108 119 128 175 192 172 115 50 -40
Kentucky 394 519 560 447 529 522 486 396 17 -24
Louisiana 425 574 644 725 779 756 670 516 4 -32
Maine 101 140 114 84 133 136 131 109 61 -20
Maryland 255 346 287 249 342 390 375 264 57 -32
Massachusetts 579 437 337 314 429 442 374 261 40 -41
Michigan 635 942 985 874 994 1,031 935 683 18 -34
Minnesota 158 202 228 245 309 318 295 208 30 -35
Mississippi 333 514 495 493 536 511 457 288 4 -44
Missouri 221 378 362 404 549 593 554 408 47 -31
Montana 27 47 58 56 66 71 71 61 28 -15
Nebraska 40 75 94 92 107 111 102 92 20 -17
Nevada 18 37 32 41 80 97 97 62 134 -36
New Hampshire 44 54 28 22 58 62 53 37 182 -39
New Jersey 493 608 464 353 494 545 540 385 54 -29
New Mexico 118 183 157 151 221 244 235 178 62 -27
New York 1,646 1,851 1,834 1,463 1,885 2,154 2,099 1,541 47 -28
North Carolina 428 605 474 390 597 630 631 505 61 -20
North Dakota 15 29 33 39 46 45 40 33 17 -26
Ohio 803 976 1,133 1,068 1,251 1,245 1,045 640 17 -49
Oklahoma 158 206 263 261 346 376 354 271 44 -28
Oregon 153 232 228 213 265 286 288 224 34 -22
Pennsylvania 843 1,071 1,032 916 1,137 1,208 1,124 835 32 -31
Puerto Rico 1,472 1,805 1,480 1,460 1,480 1,410 1,330 1,139 -3 -19
Rhode Island 79 88 69 57 87 94 91 76 65 -19
South Carolina 280 443 373 272 369 385 358 309 42 -20
South Dakota 26 46 48 50 55 53 49 44 6 -17
Tennessee 392 677 518 500 702 735 638 511 47 -30
Texas 823 1,226 1,263 1,634 2,454 2,726 2,372 1,401 67 -49
Utah 36 65 75 95 123 128 110 88 34 -31
Vermont 46 48 44 34 54 65 56 44 90 -31
Virgin Islands 25 34 32 16 16 20 31 17 23 -15
Virginia 240 432 360 333 495 547 538 362 65 -34
Washington 212 271 281 321 431 468 478 307 46 -34
West Virginia 199 252 278 259 310 321 300 247 24 -23
Wisconsin 175 269 363 291 334 330 283 182 13 -45
Wyoming 9 15 27 27 33 34 33 23 25 -31
United States 17,014 22,430 21,379 20,266 26,886 28,879 26,872 19,322 42 -33

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, unpublished data from the National Data Bank.


Table FSP 6. Food Stamp Recipiency Rates by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1977 – 1999 [In percent]

  1977 1981 1985 1989 1992 1994 1996 1999

Percent Change

1989-94 1994-99
Alabama 8.4 15.4 14.8 10.8 13.3 12.9 11.9 9.3 19 -28
Alaska 2.7 7.7 4.1 4.8 6.4 7.6 7.6 6.7 60 -13
Arizona 5.8 7.5 6.5 7.3 11.8 12.3 9.6 5.4 69 -56
Arkansas 9.7 13.3 10.9 9.7 11.6 11.5 10.9 9.9 19 -14
California 6.0 6.6 6.1 6.1 8.3 10.1 9.9 6.1 66 -39
Colorado 5.5 5.9 5.3 6.5 7.5 7.3 6.4 4.3 14 -42
Connecticut 5.8 5.6 4.5 3.5 6.2 6.8 6.8 5.4 97 -20
Delaware 4.5 9.3 6.5 4.5 7.3 8.4 8.0 5.1 85 -39
Dist. of Columbia 14.5 15.9 11.4 9.4 14.1 16.0 17.2 16.2 71 1
Florida 8.2 9.4 5.5 5.3 10.4 10.6 9.5 6.2 100 -42
Georgia 8.8 11.7 9.5 7.6 11.2 11.8 10.8 7.9 56 -33
Hawaii 11.8 10.6 9.5 7.1 8.2 9.8 11.0 10.6 37 8
Idaho 3.8 6.7 5.9 6.1 6.7 7.2 6.7 4.6 17 -36
Illinois 8.1 8.6 9.7 8.7 10.0 10.1 9.3 6.8 16 -33
Indiana 3.6 7.4 7.4 5.2 7.9 9.0 6.7 5.0 75 -44
Iowa 3.7 5.6 7.2 6.1 6.9 6.9 6.2 4.5 14 -35
Kansas 2.7 4.5 4.9 5.2 6.9 7.5 6.6 4.3 44 -42
Kentucky 11.0 14.2 15.2 12.1 14.1 13.7 12.3 10.0 13 -27
Louisiana 10.6 13.4 14.6 17.0 18.2 17.6 15.4 11.8 3 -33
Maine 9.2 12.4 9.8 6.9 10.7 11.0 10.6 8.7 59 -21
Maryland 6.1 8.1 6.5 5.3 7.0 7.8 7.4 5.1 49 -35
Massachusetts 10.1 7.6 5.7 5.2 7.2 7.3 6.1 4.2 40 -42
Michigan 6.9 10.2 10.8 9.4 10.5 10.8 9.6 6.9 14 -36
Minnesota 4.0 4.9 5.5 5.7 6.9 7.0 6.3 4.4 23 -37
Mississippi 13.5 20.3 19.1 19.1 20.5 19.2 16.9 10.4 0 -46
Missouri 4.5 7.7 7.2 7.9 10.6 11.2 10.3 7.5 42 -34
Montana 3.6 5.9 7.1 7.0 8.1 8.3 8.1 6.9 20 -17
Nebraska 2.6 4.7 5.9 5.9 6.7 6.8 6.2 5.5 17 -19
Nevada 2.7 4.4 3.4 3.6 6.0 6.6 6.0 3.4 83 -49
New Hampshire 5.1 5.8 2.8 2.0 5.2 5.4 4.6 3.1 174 -43
New Jersey 6.7 8.2 6.1 4.6 6.3 6.9 6.8 4.7 51 -31
New Mexico 9.7 13.7 10.9 10.0 14.0 14.7 13.8 10.3 47 -30
New York 9.2 10.5 10.3 8.1 10.4 11.9 11.6 8.5 46 -29
North Carolina 7.5 10.2 7.6 5.9 8.7 8.9 8.6 6.6 50 -26
North Dakota 2.4 4.4 4.9 6.0 7.2 7.1 6.2 5.3 19 -26
Ohio 7.5 9.1 10.6 9.9 11.4 11.2 9.4 5.7 14 -49
Oklahoma 5.5 6.7 8.0 8.3 10.8 11.6 10.7 8.1 40 -30
Oregon 6.3 8.7 8.5 7.6 8.9 9.3 9.0 6.8 21 -27
Pennsylvania 7.1 9.0 8.8 7.7 9.5 10.0 9.3 7.0 30 -31
Rhode Island 8.3 9.3 7.2 5.7 8.7 9.4 9.2 7.7 66 -18
South Carolina 9.4 13.9 11.3 7.9 10.3 10.5 9.6 7.9 34 -24
South Dakota 3.8 6.6 6.9 7.2 7.6 7.3 6.6 6.0 2 -18
Tennessee 8.9 14.6 11.0 10.3 14.0 14.2 12.0 9.3 38 -35
Texas 6.2 8.3 7.8 9.7 13.9 14.8 12.5 7.0 53 -53
Utah 2.7 4.3 4.6 5.6 6.8 6.6 5.4 4.1 19 -37
Vermont 9.4 9.4 8.2 6.1 9.4 11.1 9.6 7.5 83 -33
Virginia 4.6 7.9 6.3 5.4 7.8 8.4 8.1 5.3 54 -37
Washington 5.6 6.4 6.4 6.8 8.4 8.8 8.6 5.3 30 -39
West Virginia 10.4 12.9 14.6 14.3 17.1 17.7 16.5 13.7 23 -23
Wisconsin 3.8 5.7 7.6 6.0 6.7 6.5 5.5 3.5 8 -46
Wyoming 2.1 3.0 5.4 6.0 7.2 7.2 6.9 4.9 20 -32
United States 7.1 9.0 8.3 7.6 9.9 10.5 9.6 6.7 39 -37

Note: Recipiency rate refers to the average monthly number of food stamp recipients in each State during the particular fiscal year expressed as a percent of the total resident population as of July 1 of that year.  The numerator is from Table A-18.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, unpublished data from the National Data Bank and U.S. Bureau of the Census, (Resident population by state available online at http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/state/).

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