15 States With the Highest Rates of SNAP Recipients in the US

view original post

In this article, we list and discuss the 15 states with the highest rates of SNAP recipients in the US. If you would like to skip our detailed discussion about the SNAP program, you can go directly to the top 5 States With the Highest Rates of SNAP Recipients in the US

While the United States is the largest economy in the world, about 37.9 million or 11.5% of Americans live in poverty, according to the Census Bureau’s 2022 report.

Every year, the federal government of the United States pays billions of dollars in economic security benefits to low-income populations. The CBPP analysis finds that the US allocated $522 billion, or about 8% of the federal budget, to financial security benefits in 2023, supporting low-income individuals and families. One such benefit is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is a monthly cash provision to help pay for food. It targets families and individuals with low income and who can’t work due to physical or mental disability. According to USDA, on average, 42.15 million people, or about 12.5% of the US population used SNAP in 2023, for which the US paid a total benefit of more than $107.06 billion. Compared to 2022, the US cut off its SNAP spending by nearly $7 billion in 2023.

For further context, on the 1st of March 2023, the federal government ended the emergency allotments (EAs), which were temporary benefits to provide relief to those in need during the pandemic. Consequently, the monthly snap expenditure fell from $10.47 billion in February 2023 to around $8.72 billion in March 2023. Additionally, there were further steep cuts in the SNAP benefits for households, which brought the cost down to around $7.4 billion from April 2023 onwards. For more context, the average monthly SNAP benefit fell from $211.65 in 2023 to $190.12 in the Q1 of 2024.

Moreover, SNAP recipients are also projected to decline by 1 million in 2024, to 41.1 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The main reason for the decline of SNAP recipients is the expansion of the US economy and the job creation performing well above the pre-pandemic projections by the end of 2023.

However, some states in the US are economically performing better than others, which means some states receive more SNAP benefits than others. SNAP benefits vary by state, and the largest US state by population, California, received the most SNAP benefits in January 2024, amounting to over $1 billion. By the way, California ranks 3rd on the list of states with the worst job markets in 2023, with 782,288 Californians unemployed. The high rate of unemployment directly results in high food insecurity for the individuals who depend on SNAP benefits.

In addition to federal food aid programs like SNAP, many multinational corporations like Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT), US Foods Holding Corp (NYSE:USFD), and General Mills Inc (NYSE:GIS) help ease the food insecurity for millions of people in the US.

Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT), a multinational American corporation that has a massive network of retail stores, is one of the largest donors of Feeding America — a non-profit organization with a nationwide network of over 200 food banks. Over the last five years, Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) and its division, Sam’s Club, alongside participating suppliers and customers, contributed over $114 million to Feeding America. In FY 2023 alone, the company donated over 665 million pounds of food.

Meanwhile, US Foods Holding Corp (NYSE:USFD), a leading food service distributor in the US, participates in various philanthropic programs, including the food insecurity ones. In 2023, the company donated more than $12 million to Feeding America and its more than 50 food banks nationwide. The company started donating to Feeding America in 2007 and, since then, has donated over $170 million worth of food and supplies. Moreover, US Foods Holding Corp (NYSE:USFD) also generated $100,000 in donations for hunger relief programs through associate giving and volunteer initiatives in 2023.

On the other hand, General Mills Inc (NYSE:GIS), a multinational company that manufactures and markets branded processed consumer foods, enabled more than 431 million meals in food donations since 2000. Moreover, the company has also been part of Feeding America, contributing $37 million since 1979 to support the food network. In addition to substantial food donations, General Mills Inc (NYSE:GIS) also funded $3.4 million to develop MealConnect, a food recovery app, allowing more than 5 billion pounds of food to be rescued.

Below, we list the states with the highest rates of SNAP recipients in the US.

Beautiful Sacramento capitol, the headquarter of Arnold Schwarzenegger. 😉

Our Methodology

For our list of the 15 states with the highest rates of SNAP recipients in the US, we consulted the most recent SNAP data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) of January 2024. The rate of SNAP recipients — the percentage of people receiving food stamps — was calculated by dividing the number of SNAP participants per state by the population estimates of the respective states, as of the Census’s 2023 data. The list is in ascending order of rates of SNAP recipients in each state.

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that uses a consensus approach to identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The website tracks the movement of corporate insiders and hedge funds. Our top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). So, if you are looking for the best stock picks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.

15 States With the Highest Rates of SNAP Recipients in the US

15. Kentucky

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 12.98%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 587,805

Home to over 4.5 million people, Kentucky is the 36th largest state in the United States. With a poverty rate of 16.5% and an unemployment rate of 43.2%, 587,805 of Kentucky’s residents, as of the initial data of January 2024, received food stamps. For those employed, the median household income is $59,341, which is $15,414 less than the national average.

14. Mississippi

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 13.24%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 389,267

Mississippi is one of the southern states in the US, home to over 2.9 million people. The median household income in Mississippi is $52,719. Compared to the national average of $74,755, according to the Census, Mississippi’s median household income is $22,036 less. Moreover, the poverty rate of the state is 19.1%, which is 6.5% higher than the overall poverty rate of the US. Given this backdrop, Mississippi is one of the states with the highest rates of SNAP recipients in the US as of 2024.

13. California

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 13.69%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 5,335,531

A western state, California is the third largest state in the US by area and is home to around 39.5 million people. According to the Census data, California does better than the national average in terms of poverty rates as well as the median household income. For context, the median household income in California is $91,551, and the poverty rate is 12.2%. Despite this, due to its large population, California has the thirteenth highest rate of SNAP recipients in the US.

12. Alabama

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 14.62%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 746,939

Alabama is a southeastern US state with a population of about 5.02 million people. According to the Census, the median household income of Alabama is less than that of the whole US; standing at $59,674. Also, the unemployment and poverty rates are 44.3% and 16.2%. Given this backdrop, 14.62% of the population participates in SNAP.

11. New York

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 14.80%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 2,897,231

New York, one of the most popular states in the US, is the 30th largest state by area. It is home to a vast population of over 20.2 million people, out of which 40% of the individuals have attained higher education, reflecting the good educational record of the state. However, 40.6% of the population in New York is unemployed, and the poverty rate is also 14.3% — higher than the national average. Moreover, New York has the largest homeless population per capita. (See also: 20 States with the Largest Homeless Populations Per Capita)

10. Michigan

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 14.98%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 1,504,350

Michigan, the state with the longest freshwater coastline in the United States, is home to over 10 million people. Out of these, 58.7% of the population is employed, while 32.1% have attained higher education. For those employed, however, the median household income is only $66,986, which is $7,769 less than the national average. Also, the poverty rate for Michigan is 13.4%. All these factors combined result in a large number of the population requiring aid in terms of food, which positions the state 10th among the top 15 states with the highest rates of SNAP recipients in the US.

9. Pennsylvania

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 15.31%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 1,984,531

With a population of a little over 13 million people and a land area of 44,729.9 square miles, Pennsylvania is one of the most densely populated states in the US. 39.9% of the population is unemployed in the state, while 11.8% lives in poverty. Also, the median household income in the state is $71,798, which is only slightly less than the national average. Despite these positive metrics, Pennsylvania still ranks among the states with the highest rates of SNAP recipients in the US because of its large population.

8. Illinois

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 15.32%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 1,923,443

Often referred to as “the Prairie State,” Illinois is located in the midwestern region of the US. The state is home to a large population of over 12.8 million people, of which 37.7% have attained higher education, and 61.7% are employed. The median household income in Illinois is $76,708, which is higher than the state average. On the other hand, the poverty rate stands at 11.9%, which is slightly less than the national average. Similar to Pennsylvania and California, the number of residents that participate in SNAP is high in Illinois due to the generally large population.

7. West Virginia

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 15.54%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 275,104

Ranked 7th, West Virginia is an eastern U.S. state, best known for its landscapes and the Appalachian Mountains. It is one of the top 10 smallest states in the US by area, covering only about 24,034.8 square miles in land area. West Virginia is home to about 1.8 million people, of which only 24.8% of the people have attained higher education and 49.8% are unemployed. Furthermore, the median household income of the state is only $54,329, while the poverty rate is at a whopping 17.9%. Resultantly, West Virginia is home to the seventh-largest number of SNAP recipients as of 2024.

6. Massachusetts

Percentage of Residents Receiving Food Stamps: 15.67%

Number of Residents that Participated in SNAP: 1,097,389

Massachusetts, covering a land area of 7,798.9 square miles is the 5th smallest state in the US by area. Home to over 7 million people, Massachusetts ranks 6th on the list of states with the highest rates of SNAP recipients, with 1,097,389 people receiving food stamps.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 States With the Highest Rates of SNAP Recipients in the US

Suggested articles:

Disclosure: None. 15 States With the Highest Rates of SNAP Recipients in the US is originally published on Insider Monkey.