Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, food insecurity throughout the United States affected more than 37 million people, among them 11 million children. That number, though staggering, represented the lowest point of food insecurity in the country in almost 90 years. Against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, national hunger-relief organization Feeding America expects more than 54 million Americans to face food shortages. This demand puts additional strain on already-strapped food pantries, hunger-relief organizations, and drives significant need for increases in the country’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known previously as food stamps). Between February and July, between 6 and 7 million additional Americans applied and were approved for SNAP benefits.
Stacker compiled a list of the states where food stamps are used the most using SNAP data realeased July 10, 2020, by the USDA. The number of households and the poverty rate are current as of 2019 data from the Census Bureau. States are ranked by the percent of households that received food stamps in April 2020. Additional information came from sources like the Center for American Progress, Feeding America, and state websites and local food banks.
Following mandatory business and school closures last spring, the Trump administration in April backed off its push to enforce stricter SNAP rules, namely work requirements for families without children. The proposed food stamp cuts would have taken almost 700,000 Americans off their SNAP benefits. A federal judge on Oct. 18 struck down a renewed push by the administration to enforce the additional rules. Meanwhile, states have relied since March on temporary SNAP flexibility in order to deliver emergency supplemental benefits to families, representing a major lifeline at a time when many students have been remote-learning without access to school meals.
Keep reading to find out where your state ranks in terms of food stamp usage, and what is being done to curb hunger and food insecurity in your area.
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