The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides assistance to individuals and families when they experience financially difficult times. SNAP helps people from a variety of household sizes, ethnicities, and lived experiences. Despite stereotypes, there is no such thing as a typical SNAP recipient; the single characteristic that connects all recipients is their need to access affordable food.
SNAP provided benefits to 43 million people across the nation in January 2017. Women comprise 62 percent of non-elderly adults benefiting from SNAP. The program helps people of all races and ethnicities; 40 percent are White, 26 percent are Black, 11 percent are Latinx, 3 percent are Asian, and 1 percent are Native American. Over 80 percent of SNAP households have incomes at or below the poverty line ($24,300 for a family of four in 2016). Additionally, 75 percent of SNAP households include children (under age 18), elderly people (age 60 or older), or individuals with disabilities all of whom are members of the “vulnerable populations” that aren’t expected to work. SNAP is a particularly vital resource to people in these populations.