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SNAP Benefits Data

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the name for what was formerly known as the federal Food Stamp Program, as of October 1, 2008.

The SNAP benefits data represent the number of participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for each county, state, and the District of Columbia from 1981 to the latest available year.

The state-level files contain the number of SNAP benefits recipients by month, and the county level files contain the number of recipients in July of each year.

Outliers of the SNAP benefits data at the state level are smoothed on the basis of time series analysis, to remove the effects of anomalies, such as natural disasters, in which the typical relations between income and SNAP eligibility do not hold.

Prior to the SAIPE modeling, the number of SNAP benefits recipients in Alaska and Hawaii are adjusted downward because the income eligibility guidelines for these states are higher than they are for states in the continental U.S, whereas the official poverty thresholds are the same for all states and the District of Columbia. However, in this Excel file, the Alaska and Hawaii figures are pre-adjustment data.

The SNAP data provided for download are the figures used in the production of the SAIPE data for the given year and are not updated to reflect any subsequent corrections that may have been made by the states or by the Food and Nutrition Service since that time.

The county SNAP benefits totals are raked (i.e., controlled to add up) to the state totals (12-month averages) which are also provided in the data files. These values may not match those in the state files (except for the most recent years) because these data are used in the actual production for the specified year. Also note, for the 1995 poverty estimates and onward, the state totals in the county SNAP benefits files are based on the average number of SNAP benefits recipients over twelve consecutive months. For example, the 2009 SAIPE model uses an average over the period July 2008 through June 2009.

More information on how the SAIPE program uses SNAP benefits data in the models can be found at SNAP benefits recipients.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates |  Last Revised: August 15, 2013