Inflation has pushed up the prices of almost all goods and services, with the prices of necessary items, including groceries, rising dramatically. The cost of a gallon of milk is up 25% from pre-pandemic prices. According to a report by Moody’s Analytics, American families are paying $311 more each month, on average, for essentials compared to a year ago. To survive the price hikes, millions of Americans will rely on government food assistance benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
In 2020, about 13.8 million U.S. households, or about one in 10, received SNAP benefits, formerly called food stamps. At the more local level, the recipient of SNAP is much higher.
To rank the states with the highest SNAP recipient rates, 24/7 Wall St. looked at five-year estimates of the share of households that received SNAP benefits in the past 12 months from the survey. 2020 on the US Census Bureau’s American Community.
SNAP recipients are primarily determined by income, so, as might be expected, states with higher poverty rates also tend to have more households receiving benefits. However, other factors such as assets and household composition affect a household’s eligibility, so there are exceptions to the rule. For example, while Oregon has the fourth highest SNAP recipient rate, at 15% of households, the state’s poverty rate of 12.4% is slightly lower than the national poverty rate of 12.8. %. These are the states where the most children live in poverty.
Since income is the primary determinant of who receives SNAP, unemployment is a major determinant of how many people receive benefits, since Americans who are out of work likely have little or no income. The three states with the highest SNAP recipient rates – Louisiana, West Virginia and New Mexico – all have five-year average unemployment rates of 6.5%, compared to the average unemployment rate over five-year United States by 5.3%. These are the states that are experiencing the worst spikes in unemployment since the start of the pandemic.
Click here to see the states where most families need food stamps
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