Brookings Data Now: 5 Facts about SNAP

This edition of Brookings Data Now highlights five data points about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s largest program addressing domestic hunger. Formerly known as “food stamps” and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an estimated 47 million or more Americans receive this supplemental assistance.



Percent of American households reporting conditions indicating food insecurity

The rate among children is 22.4 percent.


Average monthly per-person SNAP (“food stamps”) benefit

The average monthly per-household benefit is $275.

1.1 million

In 2010, number of working mothers and their children who would have fallen below the poverty level without SNAP benefits

This is in an average month. In 2010, SNAP constituted 20 percent of the income of working mothers who received SNAP benefits.


Percent of SNAP households within nation’s largest suburbs, in 2011

Four years earlier, about half of SNAP households were located in suburbs. From 2007-11, the percentage increase in SNAP households rose much faster in suburbs than in cities. 


Nearly 90 percent of SNAP recipients live in a household with at least one person who is a child, disabled or elderly

About 40 percent of children in the lower-middle class experience either or both food insecurity and obesity.

Colleen Lineweaver contributed to this post.