Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Dynamics of Food Stamp Program Participation, 2001-2003

This report provides a comprehensive picture of individuals’ patterns of participation in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) during 2001-2003, a period of steady caseload growth. Based on data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the research explores reasons that individuals enter and leave the FSP, how long they stay on the program, whether they return to the program after exiting, and what factors distinguish those who make greater use of the FSP than others. The research also examines whether participation patterns in 2001-2003 changed from patterns in the 1990s.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Reaching Those in Need: State Food Stamp Participation Rates in 2005

his report – the latest in an annual series – presents estimates of the percentage of eligible persons, by State, who participated in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) in an average month in fiscal year 2005 and in the 2 previous fiscal years. This report also presents estimates of State participation rates for eligible “working poor” individuals (persons in households with earnings) over the same period. Although the FSP provides an important support for working families, the working poor have participated at rates that are substantially below those for all eligible persons. The addition of State-by-State information on participation among the working poor enables a comparison of these rates to the overall participation rates. Nationally, the participation rate among all eligible persons was 65 percent in fiscal year 2005. The participation rate for eligible working poor individuals was 57 percent, a significant difference of 8 percentage points.

Resource | Research | Participation Characteristics
Characteristics of Food Stamp Households: Fiscal Year 2006

On average, about 26.7 million people living in 11.7 million households received food stamps in the United States each month in fiscal year 2006. Food stamp households are a diverse group. Because food stamp benefits 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 in fiscal year 2006. The report draws on data for households participating in the Food Stamp Program under normal rules and thus does not include information about those who received disaster assistance after the Gulf Coast hurricanes in September and October 2005. Annual quality control data used to produce this report can be found using the link below.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Trends in Food Stamp Program Participation Rates: 1999 to 2005

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 2005.

Resource | Research | Promoting Healthy Eating
Implications of Restricting the Use of Food Stamp Benefits

By most standards, almost all American diets are in need of improvement, and obesity has emerged as the Nation’s most pressing health and nutrition issue. Because of concerns about poor diet, overweight, and obesity among low-income Americans, there is considerable interest in using Federal nutrition assistance programs to promote healthy choices. Some argue that food stamp recipients should be prohibited from using their benefits to buy foods with limited nutritional value (commonly described as “junk” foods). The Food Stamp Act currently places few limits on the use of food stamp benefits, as long as they are used to buy food to eat at home. The idea of restricting the use of food stamp benefits may be appealing on its face. However, upon closer examination, serious concerns emerge regarding the feasibility and rationale for the proposed restriction.