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    Food Access and SNAP in 
    {county}, {state}

Roughly 60 million Americans do not live near a well-stocked grocery store or supermarket. Among them, 18 million also have low incomes.

For millions of American families, low incomes and low store access—alone or in combination—result in food insecurity. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides a lifeline to many of these families.

This report explores USDA data on food access and insecurity in {county}, {state}. It also covers data on SNAP beneficiaries, stores, and local expenditures. 

{county}'s Residents Who Live Far From Stores  

The USDA defines "low store access" as living more than 1 mile from such a supermarket or well-stocked grocery store in an urban area, or more than 10 miles away in a rural area. The agency defines "low income" as below 200% of the federal poverty level. 

Residents with both low store access and low incomes are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. The map shows the percent of such residents as a portion of each county's population in {state}.

Drag the time-slider to change the year displayed on the map. 

The Faces of Food Insecurity

Families facing food insecurity report being forced to reduce the quality or variety of their diet. Some people facing food insecurity are occasionally forced to go hungry. The USDA measures food insecurity via household surveys, which are averaged over 3-year spans. (Because of small sample sizes, such data is not reliable at county level.)

Food insecurity spiked after the Great Recession in 2008. Since then, the percent of food-insecure households has declined significantly—though not quickly enough to return to pre-recession levels. 

Drag the time slider on the map to see statistics for a different time period (years shown are the last of 3-year averages).

People with "very low food security"—the most extreme form of food insecurity—report having to reduce the amount of food they eat, often going hungry as a result. Food insecurity can have extreme and long-lasting effects on the health and safety of families—and households with children are more likely to suffer from it. 

Children are particularly at risk from food insecurity. As of 2016, 16.5 percent of households with children were food insecure at some point during the year, compared to 10.5 percent of households without children. Food insecurity has long-lasting effects on children, manifesting as developmental and behavioral issues, poor school performance, and increased risk of hospitalization.

SNAP Participation in {state}

Funded by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a vital part of the United States' social safety net. SNAP—formerly known as the Food Stamp Program—was initiated by the Eisenhower Administration in 1961. Since then, it has become the largest nutrition assistance program and functions as the government’s main tool to fight food insecurity.

According to a study published in 2013 by the USDA (pdf), households participating in SNAP for 6 months experienced a decrease in food insecurity of 5 to 10 percentage points.

In 2017, 42.6 million Americans received SNAP benefits at some point in the year—which is a little more than 13 percent of the overall population. While SNAP participation remains higher than pre-recession levels, it has fallen significantly in almost every state since 2012. 

Many states have relaxed SNAP eligibility requirements for families that already qualify for other assistance programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). States may also have additional work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents. 


Shopping with SNAP in {county}

Recipients of SNAP are provided an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. Each month, the card’s value is replenished. Eligible foods include typical groceries. Non-eligible items include alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, pet foods, soaps, and medicine.

SNAP expenditures can provide a substantial influx of money into stores, providing stimulus to local economies. This chart shows the total amount of SNAP redemptions spent in {county} and its neighbors in 2016.

To mitigate the risks associated with high food insecurity, it is critical SNAP participants have access to enough healthy foods. SNAP-authorized stores now face certain nutrition requirements around the type and amount of food they sell. The 2014 Farm Bill made changes to requirements of SNAP retailers, including increasing the variety of foods within each staple food category and narrowing the definition of “staple foods” to exclude items like pizza or “accessory foods” like desserts or snack foods. This bill expires at the end of 2018 and will need to either be retired or extended.


Sources

USDA Food Environment Atlas: A comprehensive dataset with indicators on store and restaurant proximity, food prices, food assistance programs, and community characteristics compiled at state and county levels. 

USDA Economic Research Service: The Food Environment Atlas is one of several data products compiled by the ERS. The service also produces research and webpages about food insecuritySNAPchild nutrition programs, and other topics. 

USDA Food and Nutrition Service: This branch of the USDA compiles the most recent statistics on food assistance programs, including SNAP and the National School Lunch Program. 

The American Community Survey: Conducted by the Census Bureau, the ACS includes hundreds of indicators about American households, including SNAP participation, poverty, and other related demographic and economic topics.   

Read our national report:

Food Access and Insecurity: 
National Trends 

Register for our free webinar:

Healthy Food Programs: 
From Alaska to Arizona