June 14, 2013

Chart of the Week: The landscape of food assistance

Nearly 45 million Americans in 21.1 million households — 83% of them below the poverty line — received food stamps in any given month, according to a November 2012 report by the Agriculture Department. The average monthly benefit per household was $284. This map, created by Calvin Metcalf, Kyle Box and Laura Evans from American Community Survey data, shades each county by the percentage of its population that relies on food stamps. (Check out nearly two dozen more of their ACS-based maps here.)

As Bruce Stokes, director of global economic attitudes at Pew Research’s Global Attitudes Project, noted recently, the United States stands out among advanced economies in how many people report having trouble feeding their families.

In the project’s most recent 39-country survey, nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) said they had trouble putting food on the table in the past 12 months. That was up from 16% in 2007, and a level of deprivation closer to that experienced by Indonesians or Brazilians than citizens of most other advanced nations.

As the Senate and House wrangle over a new farm bill, the food stamp program is likely to be cut — the only question is by how much. The recently passed Senate version of the massive bill would cut $4.1 billion from food stamps (formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) over 10 years, while a version pending in the House would cut the program by $20 billion over the same period.


Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Poverty

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.


  1. Gail Anderson4 years ago

    One would like to think that the South would now have enough sense to vote the repukes out of office as they are taking away their food stamps. The problem with the south is that they do not take the time to learn about the candidates and just keep on voting repuke because that is what they are. Look at the last election,they all voted for Romney and he would have CUT every program they depend upon. It is their lack of learning and their ignorance that stops them from voting the right way. To vote for the candidate that would help them the most and it sure isn’t a repukes. I don’t know but the south has got to be educated some how some way to learn what is going on in their own states with their reps.

    1. Mike Rice3 years ago

      Gail sounds like one of those happy liberal elites who like to tell everyone else how to think and live. Do you have anger issues?

      1. John3 years ago

        do you have to personally attack someone in order to make your point? what is your point anyway?