Resource | Research | Food Security
Assessing the Food Security and Diet Quality Impacts of FNS Program Participation

To explore other options for assessing impacts, FNS awarded a contract1 to Abt Associates Inc. to consider the potential for using nonexperimental (survey-based) research designs. The objective of such research would be to provide FNS with new information on: Experiences and satisfaction of participants in FNS programs, and Impacts of program participation on food security, diet quality, and other indicators of household well-being.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Reaching Those in Need: State Food Stamp Participation Rates in 2003

This report is the latest in a series of publications presenting estimates of the percentage of eligible persons, by State, who participate in the Food Stamp Program. The participation rate – a ratio of the number of participants to the number of people eligible for benefits – is an important measure of program performance. This issue presents food stamp participation rates for States in an average month in fiscal year 2003 and for the previous fiscal year. Nationally, the participation rate among eligible persons increased from 54 percent in fiscal year 2002 to 56 percent in fiscal year 2003.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
A User's Guide to Measures of Food Stamp Program Participation Rates

The Food Stamp Program serves as the foundation of America’s national nutrition safety net, the first line of the Nation’s defense against hunger, and a powerful tool to improve nutrition among millions of low-income families and individuals. Because the program has such a central role in the national nutrition safety net, there is keen interest in tracking its performance over time and across areas. While there are many aspects to the program’s success, one key performance outcome is the extent to which it reaches the people it is intended to serve. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and other researchers have used a variety of approaches to calculate food stamp participation rates. While different approaches can look similar in concept, the results – for particular States or for the Nation as a whole – can often look quite different. These differences can be confusing for users who seek to describe the success of the Food Stamp Program without becoming experts in statistics and data analysis. This paper provides an overview and comparison of two sets of estimates produced by FNS as indicators of Food Stamp Program performance.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of Food Stamp Research Grants To Improve Access Through New Technology and Partnerships

Low participation rates among low-income people eligible for food stamp benefits have prompted a number of outreach and public education efforts. In 2002, the Food and Nutrition Service awarded $5 million in grants to community-based organizations in 15 States to investigate how to increase participation among people eligible for food stamp benefits. The evaluation of these grants describes the features and outcomes of these 18 projects.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Making America Stronger: A Profile of the Food Stamp Program

A summary of past research on program operations and outcomes related to the Food Stamp Program.

Resource | Research | Participation Characteristics
Characteristics of Food Stamp Households: Fiscal Year 2004

On average, about 23.9 million people living in 10.3 million households received food stamps in the United States each month in FY 2004. Food stamp households are a diverse group. Because food stamps are available to most low-income households with few resources, regardless of age, disability status, or family structure, recipients represent a broad cross-section of the nation's poor. This report provides information about the demographic and economic circumstances of food stamp households. Annual quality control data used to produce this report can be found using the link below.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
State Food Stamp Participation Rates for the Working Poor in 2002

An important measure of the Food Stamp Program’s performance is its ability to reach the people it is meant to serve. This report presents estimates of the food stamp participation rate among eligible working poor persons in each state. Working poor persons are defined as individuals living in house holds in which at least one member had earnings from a job. The participation rates are presented for an average month in fiscal year 2002 and the two previous fiscal years. These estimates can be compared to the state food stamp participation rates previously released for all eligible individuals in Reaching Those in Need: State Food Stamp Participation Rates in 2002 (March 2005).

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Food Stamp Benefits and Participation Rates Within Demographics Groups

This analysis seeks to determine three things: whether differences in participation rates by benefit levels persist in a more recent period, whether these differences are similar across various demographic groups, and the distribution or share of eligible nonparticipants relative to potential benefits.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Food Stamp Program Participation Rates: 2003

The Food Stamp Program (FSP) helps low-income individuals purchase food so that they can obtain a nutritious diet. One important measure of a program’s performance is its ability to reach its target population, as indicated by the fraction of people eligible for benefits that actually participate. This report is the latest in a series on food stamp participation rates based on the March Current Population Survey, and presents national participation rates for fiscal year 2003.

Resource | Research | Food Security
Impact of Food Stamp Payment Errors on Household Purchasing Power

Most discussion of payment accuracy in the Food Stamp Program focuses on the overall level and cost of payment errors. Rarely does the discussion focus on the impact of payment errors on individual households affected. This analysis – based on 2003 food stamp quality control data – leads to two broad conclusions. First, virtually all households receiving food stamps are eligible. Thus, the problem of erroneous payments is not so much one of determining eligibility, but rather one of attempting to finely target benefits to the complicated and changing circumstances of low-income households. Second, most overpayments to eligible households are small relative to household income and official poverty standards. As a result, most food stamp households are poor, and they remain poor even when overpaid.