Center for Rural Affairs report examines rural importance of nutrition program.
Recently, the Center for Rural Affairs released a report examining the importance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in rural and small town America. Despite the stereotype that SNAP primarily serves urban minority populations, the report shows that rural areas have a higher percentage of households receiving SNAP benefits than both metropolitan and micropolitan (smaller city) areas.
“We found rural areas and small cities both have higher proportions of their households receiving SNAP than do larger urban areas and the nation as a whole,” said Jon Bailey, Director of Rural Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs and author of the report. “Over 14 percent of rural households received SNAP benefits as compared to 10.9 percent of urban households and 11.4 percent of households nationwide.”
A copy of the report can be viewed and downloaded at: files.cfra.org/pdf/snap-and-rural-households.pdf
Moreover, research has indicated that seniors and children are among the most at risk for food insecurity. And we found that rural areas and small cities both have higher proportions of their households with senior and child residents receiving SNAP than do larger urban areas, higher also than the national average, Bailey continued. Combined, rural areas and small cities have 3.6 percent of their households with a SNAP recipient over 60 and 7.5 percent of their households with children under 18 receiving SNAP benefits.
SNAP is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture and offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. (www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap).
“These findings are crucial for rural families as they show SNAP is a necessary facet of everyday life for many rural families and households, especially those where seniors and children reside,” concluded Bailey. “One in nine rural households contain a SNAP recipient who is either 60 years old or older or a child under 18.”
According to Bailey, SNAP has been shown to reduce the depth and severity of poverty, a necessity in many rural areas and small towns across the nation that have higher rates of poverty than urban areas. SNAP benefits also have a particularly strong positive effect on poverty among children. The findings of importance of SNAP to many rural households and the findings of the positive benefits of SNAP argue for the maintenance of a strong domestic hunger safety net for rural areas.