Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2006. Food Stamp Program

08/30/2006

The Food Stamp Program (FSP), 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, FSP 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 supplement the food purchasing power of eligible low-income households so 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, was funded under a federal block grant of over $1.3 billion in 2002. Unless noted otherwise, the food stamp caseload and expenditure data in this Appendix exclude costs for the Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) in Puerto Rico. (Prior to 2004, editions of this Appendix included NAP, but caseload and expenditure data in this Appendix are now limited to the Food Stamp Program, to be consistent with FSP data published by the USDA.)

The Food Stamp Program is available to nearly all financially needy households. To be eligible for food stamps, a household must meet eligibility criteria for gross and net income, asset holdings, work requirements, and citizenship or immigration status. The FSP benefit unit is the household. Generally, individuals living together constitute a household if they customarily purchase and prepare meals together. The income, expenses and assets of the household members are combined to determine program eligibility and benefit allotment.

Monthly income is the most important determinant of household eligibility. Except for households composed entirely of TANF, SSI, General Assistance, elderly or disabled recipients, gross income cannot exceed 130 percent of poverty. After certain amounts are deducted for living expenses, working expenses, dependent care expenses, excess shelter expenses, child support payment, and - for elderly/disabled households - medical expenses, net income cannot exceed 100 percent of poverty. Households also must not have more than $2,000 in assets comprised of cash, savings, stocks and bonds, and certain vehicles (households with an elderly or disabled member can have up to $3,000 in countable assets).

All nonexempt adult applicants for food stamps must register for work. To maintain eligibility, they must accept a suitable job, if offered one, and fulfill any work, job search, or training requirements established by the FSP office. Nondisabled adults living in households without children can receive benefits for three months only, unless they work or participate in workrelated activities. Participation is restricted for certain groups, including students, strikers, and people who are institutionalized. Legal immigrants who are disabled, under age 18, were admitted as refugees or asylees, or have at least five years of legal US residency are eligible; all other noncitizens are not.

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 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) made major changes to the Food Stamp Program, including strong work requirements on able-bodied adults without dependent children, restricted eligibility of 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 and beyond.

First, a work requirement was added for able-bodied adult food stamp recipients without dependents (ABAWDs). Unless exempt, ABAWDs between the ages of 18 and 59 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 was 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 were already ineligible) were barred from receiving 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 on August 22, 1996 and were over 65 years of age on that date or were under age 18 or disabled.

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.

Between 1996 and 2001, regulatory and legislative changes were made to increase access to food stamps among working poor families. Regulatory changes announced in July 1999 and expanded in November 2000 allowed states to reduce reporting requirements and made it easier for working families to report income changes on a semiannual basis. Under the November 2000 regulations, states also were given the option of providing a three-month transitional food stamp benefit to most families leaving TANF. Regulations that went into effect in 2001 expanded categorical eligibility to those receiving noncash TANF benefits, excluded vehicles with little equity from the assets test, and eliminated the equity test for most vehicles. In addition, the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for 2001 (P.L. 106-387) provided 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.

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 – also known as the Farm Bill – reauthorized the Food Stamp Program through fiscal year 2007. This law brought a number of significant changes to the program, including some that supercede earlier changes made through PRWORA and subsequent FSP legislation and regulations. Specifically, the Farm Bill restores food stamp eligibility to legal immigrants who have lived in the country at least five years and to legal immigrants receiving disability benefits, regardless of entry date. Children of legal immigrants also are eligible for food stamps regardless of entry date. Effective in fiscal year 2004, the requirement that income and resources of an immigrant’s sponsor be counted in determining the eligibility and benefit amounts for immigrant children was eliminated. Each provision became effective at a different time, but all restorations were in effect by October 1, 2003.

The Farm Bill also increased the asset limit from $2,000 to $3,000 for households with a disabled member, making it consistent with the limit for households with elderly, and replaced the fixed standard deduction with a deduction that varies according to household size and is indexed to cost-of-living increases, in recognition of the higher expenses larger households incur. For households in the 48 contiguous states and DC, Alaska, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands, the deduction is set at 8.31 percent of the applicable net income limit based on household size. (Households in Guam will receive a slightly higher deduction.) No household receives an amount less than the previous fixed standard deduction or more than the standard deduction for a household of six.

Other Farm Bill changes include the authorization of $5 million per year for education and outreach grants to help inform the low-income public of their eligibility for food stamps, and increased flexibility for states in spending Employment and Training program funds to promote work. States also are now allowed to extend from three months to up to five months the period of time households may receive transitional food stamp benefits when they lose TANF cash assistance. Benefits are equal to the amount the household received prior to termination of TANF with adjustments in income for the loss of TANF. This change helps individuals moving off cash assistance to make the transition from welfare to work.

The Farm Bill also implemented a number of administrative reforms and program simplifications, including:

  • Changing the quality control system so that only those states with persistently high error rates will face liabilities;
  • Awarding bonuses to states that improve the quality and accuracy of their service;
  • Allowing states to exclude certain types of income and resources not counted under TANF or Medicaid, such as educational assistance, when determining food stamp eligibility;
  • Allowing states to deem child support payments as income exclusions rather than deductions as an incentive for parents to pay child support;
  • Allowing states to simplify the standard utility allowance (SUA) if the state elects to use the SUA rather than actual utility costs for all households, thus reducing administrative burden, costs and errors;
  • Permitting states to use a standard deduction from income of $143 per month for homeless households with some shelter expenses;
  • Allowing states to extend simplified reporting procedures to all households, not just households with earnings;
  • Eliminating the requirement that the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system be costneutral to the federal government to help support the EBT conversion process;
  • Allowing USDA to use alternative methods for issuing food stamp benefits during times of disaster when use of EBT is impractical;
  • Requiring food stamp applications be made available through the Internet;
  • Combining Puerto Rico and American Samoa’s block grants into one grant and indexing both with inflation.

Food Stamp Program Data

The following six tables and accompanying figure provide information about the Food Stamp Program:

  • Tables FSP 1 and FSP 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;
  • Tables FSP 4 through FSP 6 present some state-by-state trend data on the FSP through fiscal year 2004.

Food Stamp Caseload Trends (Table FSP 1). Average monthly food stamp participation was 23.9 million persons in fiscal year 2004, excluding the participants in Puerto Rico’s block grant. This represents a significant increase over the fiscal year 2000 record-low average of 17.2 million participants. It is, however, well below the peak of 27.5 million recipients in fiscal year 1994. Both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population, food stamp recipiency in 2000 was lower than at any point in the previous twenty years. See also Table IND 3b and Table IND 4b in Chapter II for further data trends in food stamp caseload, specifically, 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. Studies suggest that a variety of factors contributed to this caseload growth, including a weak economy and higher rates of unemployment, expansions in Medicaid eligibility, the legalization of 3 million undocumented immigrants, and longer participation spells (McConnell, 1991; Gleason, 1998).

The decline in participation from 1994 to 2000 was caused by several factors, according to studies of this period. Part of the decline is associated with the strong economy in the second half of the 1990s. However, participation fell more sharply than expected during this period of sustained economic growth. Some of the decline reflected restrictions on the eligibility of noncitizens and time limits for unemployed nondisabled childless adults. The three groups where participation fell most rapidly included noncitizens and their US-born children, unemployed nondisabled childless adults, and persons receiving cash welfare benefits. As people left the welfare rolls, many also stopped participating in food stamps, even while remaining eligible (Genser, 1999; Wilde et al., 2000; Gleason et al., 2001; Kornfeld, 2002).

The increase in FSP participation from 2000 to 2004 occurred during a period when unemployment increased from four percent to six percent, eligibility was restored to many legal immigrants, states took advantage of opportunities to expand categorical eligibility to those receiving noncash TANF benefits and services and to liberalize the treatment of vehicles, and the Food and Nutrition Service was encouraging states to conduct outreach efforts and simplify the program.

Food Stamp Expenditures. Total program costs, shown in Table FSP 2, were considerably higher in 2004 than 2003, reflecting the increase in participation during that period as well as an increase in average benefits. Total federal program costs were $27 billion in 2004; the comparable 2003 cost was $23.9 billion (after adjusting for inflation). Average monthly benefits per person, also shown in Table FSP 2, were $86.00 per person in fiscal year 2004, up from $83.90 in 2003. This constitutes a 3 percent increase in average monthly benefits over the last year adjusted to 2004 dollars.

Food Stamp Household Characteristics. As shown in Table 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 29 percent in 2004. At the same time, the proportion of households with income from AFDC/TANF has declined, from 43 percent in 1990 to 16 percent in 2004, 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 early 1990s to 54 percent in 2004. The vast majority (88 percent in 2004) of households have incomes below the federal poverty guidelines.

Figure FSP 1. Persons Receiving Food Stamps: 1962–2004

Figure FSP 1. Persons Receiving Food Stamps: 1962–2004

Note: Shaded areas are periods of recession as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, data published online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/fssummar.htm and unpublished data from the Food Stamps National Data Bank.


Table FSP 1. Trends in Food Stamp Caseloads: Selected Years 1962–2004

Fiscal Year Food Stamp Participants Participants as a Percent of: Child Participants as a Percent of:
Including Territories 1 (thousands) Excluding Territories (thousands) Children Excld. Terr. (thousands) Total Population 2 All Poor Persons 2 Pretransfer Poverty Population 3 Total Child Population 2 Children in Poverty 2
1962 6,554 6,554 NA 3.5 17.0 NA NA NA
1965 5,167 5,167 NA 2.7 15.6 NA NA NA
1970 8,317 8,317 NA 4.1 32.7 NA NA NA
1971 13,010 13,010 NA 6.3 50.9 NA NA NA
1972 14,111 14,111 NA 6.7 57.7 NA NA NA
1973 14,607 14,607 NA 6.9 63.6 NA NA NA
1974 14,288 14,288 NA 6.7 61.1 NA NA NA
19754 17,152 16,320 NA 7.6 63.1 NA NA NA
1976 18,628 17,033 9,126 7.8 68.2 NA 13.8 88.8
1977 17,161 15,604 NA 7.1 63.1 NA NA NA
1978 16,077 14,405 NA 6.5 58.8 NA NA NA
19795 17,758 15,942 NA 7.1 61.1 57.1 NA NA
1980 21,173 19,253 9,876 8.5 65.8 60.7 15.5 85.6
1981 22,518 20,655 9,803 9.0 64.6 60.8 15.5 78.4
1982 21,808 20,392 9,591 8.8 59.3 56.3 15.3 70.3
1983 21,727 20,095 10,910 8.6 61.4 58.5 17.4 78.4
1984 20,854 20,796 10,492 8.8 61.7 58.5 16.8 78.2
1985 19,899 19,847 9,906 8.3 60.0 56.6 15.7 75.3
1986 19,429 19,381 9,844 8.1 59.9 56.2 15.7 76.5
1987 19,113 19,072 9,771 7.9 59.2 55.6 15.5 76.1
1988 18,645 18,613 9,351 7.6 58.6 55.2 14.8 75.1
1989 18,806 18,778 9,429 7.6 59.6 55.6 14.9 74.9
1990 20,049 20,020 10,127 8.0 59.6 55.7 15.8 75.4
1991 22,625 22,599 11,952 8.9 63.3 59.3 18.3 83.3
1992 25,406 25,370 13,349 9.9 66.7 64.0 20.1 87.3
1993 26,982 26,952 14,196 10.4 68.6 63.8 21.0 90.3
1994 27,468 27,433 14,391 10.4 72.1 66.8 21.0 94.1
1995 26,619 26,579 13,860 10.0 73.0 67.6 20.0 94.5
1996 25,543 25,495 13,189 9.5 69.8 64.6 18.8 91.2
1997 22,858 22,820 11,847 8.4 64.1 59.9 16.7 83.9
1998 19,791 19,748 10,524 7.2 57.3 53.8 14.7 78.1
1999 18,183 18,146 9,332 6.5 55.3 52.5 13.0 76.0
2000 17,194 17,156 8,743 6.1 55.1 51.8 12.1 75.5
2001 17,318 17,282 8,819 6.1 52.5 49.2 12.1 75.2
2002 19,096 19,059 9,688 6.6 55.1 52.1 13.3 79.8
2003 21,259 21,222 10,605 7.3 59.2 NA 14.5 82.4
2004 23,858 23,819 11,771 8.1 64.4 NA 16.1 90.4

1 Total participants includes all participating states, the District of Columbia, and the territories (including Puerto Rico from 1975 to 1982–a separate Nutrition Assistance Grant for Puerto Rico was begun in July 1982). From 1962 to 1983 the number of participants includes the Family Food Assistance Program (FFAP) that was largely replaced by the FSP 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.
2 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.
3 The pre-transfer 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 relevant poverty threshold. See Appendix J, Table 20, 1992 Green Book; data for subsequent years are unpublished Congressional Budget Office tabulations.
4 The first fiscal year in which food stamps were available nationwide.
5 The fiscal year in which the food stamp purchase requirement was eliminated, on a phased-in basis.

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, data published online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/fssummar.htm and unpublished data from the Food Stamps National Data Bank, the House Ways and Means Committee, 1996 Green Book, and U.S. Bureau of the Census,“Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-229.


Table FSP 2. Trends in Food Stamp Expenditures: Selected Years 1975–2004

Fiscal Year Total Federal Cost (Benefits + Administration) Benefits (Federal) (millions) Administration1 Total Program Cost (millions) Average Monthly Benefit per Person
Current Dollars (millions) 2004 Dollars(millions) Federal (millions) State & Local (millions) Current Dollars 2004 Dollars2
1975 $4,619 $15,059 $4,386 $233 $175 $4,794 $21.30 $69.40
1976 5,685 17,353 5,326 359 270 5,955 23.90 72.90
1977 5,461 15,516 5,067 394 295 5,756 24.80 70.50
1978 5,520 14,713 5,139 381 285 5,805 26.60 70.90
19793 6,940 17,010 6,480 460 388 7,328 30.50 74.80
1980 9,206 20,336 8,721 486 375 9,581 34.50 76.20
1981 11,225 22,550 10,630 595 504 11,729 39.50 79.30
1982 10,837 20,388 10,208 628 557 11,394 39.20 72.60
1983 11,847 21,333 11,152 695 612 12,459 43.00 77.40
19844 11,579 20,055 10,696 8835 805 12,384 42.70 74.00
1985 11,703 19,587 10,744 960 871 12,574 45.00 75.30
1986 11,638 19,034 10,605 1,033 935 12,573 45.50 74.40
1987 11,604 18,491 10,500 1,104 996 12,600 45.80 73.00
1988 12,317 18,919 11,149 1,168 1,080 13,397 49.80 76.50
1989 12,932 19,049 11,701 1,232 1,101 14,033 51.80 76.30
1990 15,490 21,827 14,186 1,305 1,174 16,664 59.00 83.10
1991 18,771 25,325 17,339 1,432 1,247 20,018 63.90 86.20
1992 22,462 29,574 20,906 1,557 1,375 23,837 68.60 90.30
1993 23,653 30,365 22,006 1,647 1,572 25,225 68.00 87.30
1994 24,493 30,777 22,749 1,744 1,643 26,136 69.00 86.70
1995 24,620 30,226 22,764 1,856 1,748 26,368 71.30 87.50
1996 24,331 29,138 22,440 1,891 1,842 26,173 73.20 87.70
1997 21,485 25,112 19,549 1,937 1,904 23,389 71.30 83.30
1998 18,888 21,750 16,891 1,998 1,988 20,876 71.10 81.90
1999 17,710 20,039 15,769 1,941 1,874 19,584 72.30 81.80
2000 17,054 18,706 14,983 2,070 2,086 19,140 72.60 79.60
2001 17,790 18,905 15,547 2,242 2,233 20,023 74.80 79.50
2002 20,644 21,619 18,256 2,388 2,397 23,041 79.70 83.50
2003 23,872 24,427 21,404 2,468 2,480 26,352 83.90 85.90
2004 26,999 26,999 24,628 2,371 2,380 29,379 86.00 86.00

Note: Total federal cost and the cost of benefits does include food stamps in Puerto Rico from 1975 to 1982 but does not include the funding for the Puerto Rico nutrition assistance grant from the last quarter of FY 1982 (when it replaced Puerto Rico’s food stamp program) to the present. (Puerto Rico’s nutrition assistance grant was $778 million in 1983 and rose to over $1.4 billion in 2004.)

1 Amounts include the federal share of state administrative and Employment and Training costs 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.
2 Constant dollar adjustments to 2004 level were made using a CPI-U-RS fiscal year average price index.
3 The fiscal year in which the food stamp purchase requirement was eliminated, on a phased-in basis.
4 Beginning 1984 USDA took over from DHHS the administrative cost of certifying public assistance households for food stamps.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service unpublished data (available at online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/fssummar.htm ); and the House Ways and Means Committee, 2004 Green Book (available online at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/wmprints/green/2004.html ).


Table FSP 3. Characteristics of Food Stamp Households: 1980–2004 (percents)

  Year 1
  1980 1984 1988 1990 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004
With Gross Monthly Income:
Below the Federal Poverty Levels.…... 87 93 92 92 90 91 90 89 88 88
Between the Poverty Levels and 130 Percent of the Poverty Levels.........….. 10 6 8 8 9 8 9 10 11 11
Above 130 Percent of Poverty........….. 2 1 * * 1 1 1 1 1 2
With Earnings................................……. 19 19 20 19 21 23 26 27 28 29
With Public Assistance Income 2.....….. §§ §§ §§ §§ §§ 61 59 56 50 45
With AFDC/TANF Income...........…... NA 42 42 43 38 37 31 26 21 16
With SSI Income...........................…... 18 18 20 19 23 24 28 32 29 27
With Children...................................….. 60 61 61 61 61 60 58 54 54 54
And Female Heads of Household..…... NA 47 50 51 51 50 47 44 44 45
With No Spouse Present .......…… NA NA 39 37 43 43 41 38 37 37
With Elderly Members 3..........……...... 23 22 19 18 16 16 18 21 19 17
Average Household Size...............…..... 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.7 2.6 2.5 2.4 2.3 2.3 2.3

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/TANF, SSI, and general assistance.
3 Elderly members and heads of household include those of age 60 or older. §§ The total percentage of households with public assistance income is approximately equal to the sum of those with AFDC/TANF and SSI income with some small percentage of households receiving both due to having individual members eligible for different forms of assistance.
* 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 2004, Report No. FSP-05-CHAR (available online at online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/oane/MENU/Published/FSP/participation.htm) and earlier reports.


Table FSP 4. Value of Food Stamps Issued, by State: Selected Fiscal Years 1975–2004 (millions)

  1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2002 2004
United States $4,386 $8,721 $10,744 $14,186 $22,764 $14,983 $18,256 $24,629
Alabama $103 $246 $318 $328 $441 $344 $417 $513
Alaska 6 27 25 25 50 46 59 64
Arizona 41 97 121 239 414 240 386 578
Arkansas 78 122 126 155 212 206 265 347
California 361 530 639 968 2,473 1,639 1,706 1,989
Colorado 44 71 94 156 217 127 165 253
Connecticut 36 59 62 72 169 138 146 198
Delaware 6 21 22 25 47 31 39 57
Dist. of Columbia 31 41 40 43 92 77 76 98
Florida 207 421 368 609 1,307 771 878 1,269
Georgia 129 264 290 382 700 489 621 924
Guam 2 15 18 15 24 36 52 48
Hawaii 23 60 93 81 177 166 152 152
Idaho 11 29 36 40 59 46 62 91
Illinois 238 394 713 835 1,056 777 923 1,211
Indiana 58 154 242 226 382 268 408 550
Iowa 28 54 107 109 142 100 129 176
Kansas 12 38 64 96 144 83 113 158
Kentucky 135 211 332 334 413 337 410 543
Louisiana 148 243 365 549 629 448 587 754
Maine 31 60 62 63 112 81 97 140
Maryland 76 140 171 203 365 199 215 287
Massachusetts 75 171 173 207 315 182 209 304
Michigan 124 263 541 663 806 457 645 896
Minnesota 40 62 105 165 240 165 201 249
Mississippi 110 199 264 352 383 226 298 361
Missouri 82 142 212 312 488 358 477 663
Montana 11 18 31 41 57 51 58 79
Nebraska 11 25 44 59 77 61 74 109
Nevada 10 15 22 41 91 57 96 120
New Hampshire 11 22 15 20 44 28 35 44
New Jersey 125 226 260 289 506 304 314 378
New Mexico 48 81 88 117 196 140 154 217
New York 209 726 938 1,086 2,065 1,361 1,479 1,876
North Carolina 122 234 237 282 495 403 536 753
North Dakota 5 9 16 25 32 25 31 40
Ohio 253 382 697 861 1,017 520 726 1,009
Oklahoma 38 73 134 186 315 208 288 398
Oregon 56 80 142 168 254 198 319 415
Pennsylvania 175 373 547 661 1,006 656 700 933
Rhode Island 18 31 35 42 82 59 64 74
South Carolina 121 181 194 240 297 249 352 501
South Dakota 8 18 26 35 40 37 45 54
Tennessee 115 282 280 372 554 415 552 812
Texas 314 514 701 1,429 2,246 1,215 1,522 2,307
Utah 12 22 40 71 90 68 80 123
Vermont 9 18 20 22 46 32 34 40
Virgin Islands 6 19 23 18 28 21 17 19
Virginia 63 158 189 247 450 263 305 476
Washington 70 90 140 229 417 241 318 455
West Virginia 56 87 159 192 253 185 198 232
Wisconsin 29 68 148 180 220 129 197 269
Wyoming 3 6 15 21 28 19 22 25

Note: The totals for 1975 and 1980 include amounts for Puerto Rico of $366 and $828 million respectively.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, (2000 to 2004 data published online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/fsfybft.htm) and unpublished data from the Food Stamp National Data Bank.


Table FSP 5. Average Number of Food Stamp Recipients, by State: Selected Fiscal Years (thousands)

  1975 1980 1985 1990 1996 2000 2002 2004 Percent Change
1996-00 2000-04
United States 17,192 21,082 19,899 20,049 25,543 17,194 19,096 23,858 -33 39
Alabama 365 583 588 454 509 396 444 498 -22 26
Alaska 15 29 22 25 46 38 46 49 -19 31
Arizona 143 196 206 317 427 259 379 530 -39 104
Arkansas 267 301 253 235 274 247 284 346 -10 41
California 1,455 1,493 1,615 1,937 3,143 1,830 1,711 1,859 -42 2
Colorado 150 163 170 221 244 156 178 242 -36 55
Connecticut 155 170 145 133 223 165 169 196 -26 19
Delaware 26 52 40 33 58 32 40 56 -44 73
Dist. of Columbia 122 103 72 62 93 81 74 89 -13 10
Florida 647 912 630 781 1,371 882 985 1,202 -36 36
Georgia 498 627 567 536 793 559 646 867 -29 55
Guam 6 22 20 12 18 22 24 26 26 16
Hawaii 75 102 99 77 130 118 105 99 -9 -16
Idaho 39 61 59 59 80 58 70 91 -27 57
Illinois 926 903 1,110 1,013 1,105 817 886 1,070 -26 31
Indiana 392 353 406 311 390 300 411 526 -23 75
Iowa 115 141 203 170 177 123 141 179 -30 45
Kansas 58 90 119 142 172 117 140 170 -32 46
Kentucky 472 468 560 458 486 403 450 545 -17 35
Louisiana 510 569 644 727 670 500 588 706 -25 41
Maine 126 139 114 94 131 102 111 142 -22 40
Maryland 261 324 287 255 375 219 228 274 -41 25
Massachusetts 365 453 337 347 374 232 243 335 -38 44
Michigan 619 813 985 917 935 603 750 944 -36 57
Minnesota 167 171 228 263 295 196 217 247 -33 26
Mississippi 376 496 495 499 457 276 325 377 -40 37
Missouri 300 335 362 431 554 423 515 700 -24 65
Montana 38 43 58 57 71 59 63 77 -16 30
Nebraska 49 66 94 95 102 82 88 114 -19 38
Nevada 32 32 32 50 97 61 97 120 -37 97
New Hampshire 44 50 28 31 53 36 41 48 -31 34
New Jersey 490 605 464 382 540 345 320 369 -36 7
New Mexico 157 185 157 157 235 169 170 223 -28 32
New York 1,291 1,759 1,834 1,548 2,099 1,439 1,349 1,598 -31 11
North Carolina 466 582 474 419 631 488 574 747 -23 53
North Dakota 19 25 33 39 40 32 37 41 -20 30
Ohio 854 865 1,133 1,089 1,045 610 735 945 -42 55
Oklahoma 171 209 263 267 354 253 317 412 -28 63
Oregon 201 197 228 216 288 234 359 420 -19 79
Pennsylvania 848 980 1,032 952 1,124 777 767 961 -31 24
Rhode Island 86 87 69 64 91 74 72 78 -18 4
South Carolina 410 426 373 299 358 295 379 497 -18 68
South Dakota 33 43 48 50 49 43 48 53 -12 2
Tennessee 397 624 518 527 638 496 598 806 -22 63
Texas 1,133 1,167 1,263 1,880 2,372 1,333 1,554 2,259 -44 69
Utah 46 54 75 99 110 82 90 123 -26 51
Vermont 44 46 44 38 56 41 40 43 -28 5
Virgin Islands 16 34 32 18 31 16 12 13 -49 -15
Virginia 257 384 360 346 538 336 352 486 -37 45
Washington 253 248 281 340 478 295 350 453 -38 54
West Virginia 242 209 278 262 300 227 236 256 -24 13
Wisconsin 148 215 363 286 283 193 262 324 -32 68
Wyoming 10 14 27 28 33 22 24 26 -32 15

Note: The totals for 1975 and 1980 include recipients in Puerto Rico of 810 thousand and 1.86 million respectively.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (2000 to 2004 data published online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/fsfypart.htm) and unpublished data from the National Data Bank.


Table FSP 6. Food Stamp Recipiency Rates, by State: Selected Fiscal Years (percent)

  1975 1980 1985 1990 1996 2000 2002 2004 Percent Change
1996-00 2000-04
United States 7.6 8.5 8.3 8.0 9.5 6.1 6.6 8.1 -36 33
Alabama 9.9 14.9 14.8 11.2 11.8 8.9 9.9 11.0 -24 23
Alaska 4.0 7.1 4.1 4.5 7.6 6.0 7.2 7.5 -21 26
Arizona 6.3 7.1 6.5 8.6 9.3 5.0  7.0 9.2 -46 84
Arkansas 12.4 13.1 10.9 10.0 10.6 9.2 10.5 12.6 -14 37
California 6.8 6.3 6.1 6.5 9.8 5.4 4.9 5.2 -45 -4
Colorado 5.8 5.6 5.3 6.7 6.2 3.6 4.0 5.3 -42 46
Connecticut 5.0 5.5 4.5 4.0 6.7 4.8 4.9 5.6 -28 16
Delaware 4.5 8.7 6.5 5.0 7.8 4.1 4.9 6.7 -48 64
Dist. of Columbia 17.2 16.1 11.4 10.3 16.2 14.1 13.0 16.0 -13 13
Florida 7.6 9.3 5.5 6.0 9.2 5.5 5.9 6.9 -40 26
Georgia 9.8 11.4 9.5 8.2 10.6 6.8 7.6 9.8 -36 44
Hawaii 8.4 10.6 9.5 6.9 10.8 9.7 8.5 7.8 -10 -20
Idaho 4.6 6.4 5.9 5.8 6.6 4.5 5.2 6.6 -33 47
Illinois 8.2 7.9 9.7 8.8 9.1 6.6 7.0 8.4 -28 28
Indiana 7.3 6.4 7.4 5.6 6.6 4.9 6.7 8.4 -25 71
Iowa 4.0 4.8 7.2 6.1 6.2 4.2 4.8 6.1 -32 44
Kansas 2.5 3.8 4.9 5.7 6.6 4.3 5.2 6.2 -34 43
Kentucky 13.6 12.8 15.2 12.4 12.4 10.0 11.0 13.1 -20 32
Louisiana 13.1 13.5 14.6 17.2 15.2 11.2 13.1 15.6 -27 40
Maine 11.8 12.3 9.8 7.6 10.5 8.0 8.6 10.8 -24 35
Maryland 6.3 7.7 6.5 5.3 7.3 4.1 4.2 4.9 -44 19
Massachusetts 6.3 7.9 5.7 5.8 6.0 3.6 3.8 5.2 -40 43
Michigan 6.8 8.8 10.8 9.8 9.6 6.1 7.5 9.3 -37 54
Minnesota 4.2 4.2 5.5 6.0 6.3 4.0 4.3 4.9 -36 22
Mississippi 15.7 19.6 19.1 19.4 16.6 9.7 11.3 13.0 -42 34
Missouri 6.2 6.8 7.2 8.4 10.2 7.6 9.1 12.2 -26 61
Montana 5.1 5.5 7.1 7.1 8.0 6.6 7.0 8.4 -18 27
Nebraska 3.2 4.2 5.9 6.0 6.1 4.8 5.1 6.5 -21 36
Nevada 5.2 4.0 3.4 4.1 5.8 3.0 4.5 5.2 -48 71
New Hampshire 5.3 5.4 2.8 2.7 4.5 2.9 3.2 3.7 -35 28
New Jersey 6.7 8.2 6.1 4.9 6.6 4.1 3.7 4.2 -38 4
New Mexico 13.5 14.1 10.9 10.3 13.4 9.3 9.2 11.7 -31 26
New York 7.2 10.0 10.3 8.6 11.3 7.6 7.0 8.3 -33 10
North Carolina 8.4 9.9 7.6 6.3 8.4 6.0 6.9 8.7 -28 45
North Dakota 2.9 3.9 4.9 6.1 6.1 5.0 5.8 6.5 -19 32
Ohio 7.9 8.0 10.6 10.0 9.3 5.4 6.4 8.3 -42 54
Oklahoma 6.2 6.9 8.0 8.5 10.6 7.3 9.1 11.7 -31 59
Oregon 8.6 7.5 8.5 7.6 8.9 6.8 10.2 11.7 -23 71
Pennsylvania 7.1 8.3 8.8 8.0 9.2 6.3 6.2 7.7 -31 22
Rhode Island 9.2 9.1 7.2 6.4 8.9 7.1 6.7 7.2 -21 2
South Carolina 14.1 13.6 11.3 8.5 9.4 7.3 9.2 11.8 -22 61
South Dakota 4.8 6.2 6.9 7.2 6.6 5.7 6.3 6.9 -14 22
Tennessee 9.3 13.6 11.0 10.8 11.8 8.7 10.3 13.7 -26 57
Texas 9.0 8.1 7.8 11.0 12.3 6.4 7.2 10.0 -48 58
Utah 3.7 3.7 4.6 5.7 5.3 3.7 3.9 5.2 -31 41
Vermont 9.1 8.9 8.2 6.8 9.5 6.7 6.5 6.9 -30 3
Virginia 5.1 7.2 6.3 5.6 8.0 4.7 4.8 6.5 -41 38
Washington 7.0 6.0 6.4 6.9 8.6 5.0 5.8 7.3 -42 46
West Virginia 13.1 10.7 14.6 14.6 16.4 12.6 13.1 14.1 -24 12
Wisconsin 3.2 4.6 7.6 5.8 5.4 3.6 4.8 5.9 -34 64
Wyoming 2.7 3.0 5.4 6.2 6.8 4.5 4.7 5.1 -33 11

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 FSP 5.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (2000 to 2004 data published online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/fsfypart.htm and unpublished data from the National Data Bank; U.S. Bureau of the Census (resident population by state available online at http://www.census.gov ).

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