Who Is On Food Stamps, By State

Most recent data indicates about 47.5 million Americans are on food stamps, with enrollment varying greatly from state to state.

The number of participants for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, rose sharply during the Great Recession. Enrollment has since stabilized, but the total applying for SNAP benefits has yet to recede in most states.

Nationwide, more than one in seven Americans receive SNAP benefits.

Parts of the South are responsible for the largest share of people who are on food stamps. Mississippi recorded the highest participation rate of any state in fiscal year 2012, with about 22 percent of the population on food stamps. By comparison, only 6 percent of Wyoming residents received SNAP benefits.

Participation rates for those who are on food stamps differ in each state, partly due to differences in eligibility requirements and how states administer SNAP. Of course, states with more low-income households also have more of their population eligible for food stamps, further explaining higher participation rates.

SNAP Participation Map
The following map shows the approximate average monthly share of each state's total population receiving SNAP benefits in fiscal year 2012. Click a state to view historical annual data. Figures represent Governing calculations using USDA data and Census Bureau population estimates.

NOTE: Please zoom out to view Alaska and Hawaii

While the number of individuals applying for food stamps has fluctuated little so far in 2013, trends vary from state to state.

In the chart below, select a state to display its SNAP enrollment data:

More from GOVERNING Data