Empirical Bayes Shrinkage Estimates of State Food Stamp Participation Rates in 1999-2001 for All Eligible People and for the Working Poor

Last Published: 08/16/2016

The Food Stamp Program is a central component of American policy to alleviate hunger and poverty. The program’s main purpose is “to permit low-income households to obtain a more nutritious diet . . . by increasing their purchasing power” (Food Stamp Act of 1977, as amended). The Food Stamp Program is the largest of the domestic food and nutrition assistance programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. During fiscal year 2003, the program served over 21 million people in an average month at a total annual cost of over $21 billion in benefits. The average monthly food stamp benefit was about $195 per household. This report presents estimates that, for each state, measure the need for the Food Stamp Program and the program’s effectiveness in each of the three years from 1999 to 2001. The estimated numbers of people eligible for food stamps measure the need for the program. The estimated food stamp participation rates measure, state by state, the program’s performance in reaching its target population.

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