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The Food-Spending Patterns of Households Participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Findings From USDA's FoodAPS

Laura Tiehen, Constance Newman and John Kirlin ()

No 262461, Economic Information Bulletin from United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Abstract: USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to increase the food purchasing power of low-income households. A recent USDA survey—the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS)—provides a unique opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of the food spending of SNAP households. This study finds that, when adjusted for household size and composition, average food spending in SNAP households is lower than in other U.S. households, even those that are eligible for SNAP but choose not to participate. Food-at-home spending accounts for a greater share of the total food expenditures of SNAP households than of other households. SNAP benefits account for over 60 percent of the average food-at-home expenditures of SNAP households. They also play a strong role in the food budgets of households with children and those in poverty, especially those in deep poverty. Among both SNAP households and eligible nonparticipant households, those that are food secure spend more on food than those that are food insecure. Finally, this study finds clear evidence of a cyclical pattern in the food spending of SNAP households across the benefit month.

Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty; Health Economics and Policy; Public Economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 37
Date: 2017-08-16
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (11)

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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.262461

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