This brief uses data from the American Community Survey to document rates of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) receipt in 2013, to track changes since the onset of the recession in 2007, and to monitor receipt by region and across rural places, suburbs, and cities. In addition, it examines levels of SNAP receipt among potentially vulnerable populations to determine how receipt has changed among these groups since the recession began. Authors Jessica A. Carson and Paul Anskat report that the share of households receiving SNAP benefits declined slightly between 2012 and 2013 from 13.6 to 13.5 percent, the first decrease since the recession began in 2007. Across regions and place types (rural, suburban, and city), SNAP receipt declined or leveled off, breaking the trend of yearly increases recorded in every region and place type since the recession began. Despite the declines in SNAP receipt in 2013, the program remains an important support for populations at risk for food insecurity and hunger. As debates continue and set the stage for reauthorization, the challenges of crafting fiscally responsible policy should be weighed carefully alongside the needs of the populations that use SNAP.

Publication Date

Summer 7-28-2015


National Issue Brief No. 87


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type






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