SNAP participation among low-income US households stays stagnant while food insecurity escalates in the months following the COVID-19 pandemic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic led to increased food-insecurity rates, particularly among low-income households. Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was expected to rise in response. We surveyed 931 US residents from households with annual incomes below $50,000 to collect information on food security and food assistance program participation in the year prior to the pandemic and in the first four months of the pandemic, along with household and individual-level demographics. Food insecurity increased from 31% prior to the pandemic to 39% in the first four months of the pandemic, while self-reported SNAP participation stagnated. Even more alarmingly, among low-income households that were also food-insecure, 47% reported participating in SNAP prior to the pandemic but only 39% did so in the first four months following the pandemic's onset. In particular, Black households, households with children, and those in the lowest income category experienced the largest declines in SNAP participation. Food assistance programs designed to alleviate hunger should facilitate participation among the most vulnerable, especially when these groups are faced with multiple challenges, like during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101555
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Volume24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Food insecurity
  • Households with children
  • Low-income households
  • Racial/ethnic minorities
  • SNAP participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'SNAP participation among low-income US households stays stagnant while food insecurity escalates in the months following the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this