The Business Case for Increasing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participation
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the cornerstone
of the Nationís nutrition safety net and an investment in our future.
SNAP provides nutrition benefits to low income participating clients,
supports work, and delivers economic benefits to communities.
Despite the obvious nutrition benefits of SNAP, in fiscal year (FY) 2009
28 percent of low income people who would qualify for SNAP do not
participate. This means that about 12 million low income people in FY
2009 were losing out on SNAP benefits. But it also means that
communities do not benefit economically from their participation. SNAP
is the only public benefit program which also serves as an economic
stimulus, creating an economic boost that ripples throughout the economy
when new SNAP benefits are redeemed. By generating business at local
grocery stores, new SNAP benefits trigger labor and production demand,
ultimately increasing household income and triggering additional
At the request of States, FNS developed the materials below which detail
why increasing participation of eligible people in SNAP makes sense for
States and communities from an economic development perspective and for
low-income people from a nutrition perspective.
As part of this effort, FNS conducted an analysis to examine the
economic impact, by State and for the Nation, of a five percentage point
increase in the participation rate. The national participation rate for
fiscal year 2009 was 72 percent. If the national participation rate rose
just five percentage points, 2.2 million more low-income people would
have an additional $859 million in benefits per year to use to purchase
healthy food and $1.5 billion total in new economic activity would be
generated nationwide. This analysis demonstrates that even a small
increase in participation among those eligible for SNAP benefits can
have a substantial economic impact for States and communities.
These materials are updated annually: