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Trends in SNAP Participation Rates: FY 2010-2017

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Research type
Participation Rates
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PDF Icon Summary (191.03 KB)
PDF Icon Full Report (1.78 MB)

Trends in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates: fiscal year 2010 to 2017 is the latest in a series on SNAP participation rates, which estimate the proportion of people eligible for benefits under federal income and asset rules who actually participate in the program. This report presents rates for fiscal year 2017, comparing them to rates for FYs 2010 through 2016. Key findings include:

  • Overall, the program served 84 percent of all eligible individuals in 2017, up 12 points from 72 percent in 2010. Most of this increase occurred between 2010 and 2012; in more recent years, the participation rate has been fairly stable.
  • As in past years, the lowest income individuals – who are eligible for higher benefits – participated at higher rates. While virtually all individuals in households eligible for the maximum allotment participated in SNAP, only 29 percent of those eligible for $16 (the minimum benefit for households with 1 or 2 members) or less participated in SNAP.
  • Participation rates for the elderly, although low, rose steadily between 2010 and 2017, rising from 33 percent to 48 percent, an increase of 15 percentage points.
Page updated: October 04, 2023