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1) New Data Visualization Shows Access and Eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program County by County in 23 States [press release]

Mississippi had the nation’s highest rate of individuals eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in 2020 — nearly 1 in 3 — according to a U.S. Census Bureau data visualization.

The recently redesigned visualization, which shows SNAP benefits in 1,157 counties in 23 states aims to increase understanding of access to SNAP and inform future outreach.

The interactive tool uses data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) and state administrative records to capture the age, race/ethnicity, household composition, presence of children, internet access and veteran and health insurance status of SNAP recipients and potential candidates.  

How the Tool Was Built: We linked individual ACS records to state administrative records of SNAP participants, following a methodology outlined in a 2013 report. https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/45136/40266_err-156.pdf?v=7994.6
We identified people likely eligible for SNAP benefits (based on ACS responses to questions about family structure, income, shelter costs and participation in other safety-net programs). For those identified as likely eligible for SNAP, we determined if they received SNAP benefits at any point in the 12 months prior to the survey. We combined one year of ACS data with two years of state administrative records to determine state-level estimates, and three years of ACS data and four years of state administrative records to determine county estimates.   
The Census Bureau created and routinely updates the data visualization with support from the USDA’s Economic Research Service and Food and Nutrition Service and data from multiple state partners.  

2) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Eligibility & Access -- Visualization Tool
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal program to reduce domestic hunger, reaching nearly 40 million people in an average month during fiscal year 2020. A recent report estimates that 18 percent of those eligible for benefits nationwide did not participate in the program in 2018.

This visualization represents the joint efforts of the U.S. Census Bureau, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, the USDA’s Economic Research Service, and our state partners to increase understanding of current SNAP program access and inform future SNAP program outreach. The visualization uses American Community Survey data linked to state administrative records to model estimates of SNAP eligibility and access rates at the state and county levels. Using linked data allows us to estimate eligibility and access for a wide range of characteristics. More information on how we estimate SNAP eligibility is available in . . . .

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