Chart of the Week: Trend in Food Assistance Programs By State Since 2007

May 14, 2019
Chart of the Week, Budgeting

Hat tip for Jessica for pointing out this interactive map showing trends in food assistance programs (aka SNAP or food stamps). For an economics teacher, this interactive helps to explain how the economic cycle affects federal assistance programs. 

Here's the static map (click on it to go to the site where it is interactive): 


  1. Looking at the U.S. map in 2017, what trends do you see in the usage of food assistance programs? Are there differences by region? Explain. 
  2. Using the slider bar with the years, trace how the rate of residents in your state accessed these food assistance programs since 2007. What typically drives usage of food assistance programs? Why do rates vary from year to year? 
  3. How does your state residents' usage of food assistance programs compare to the rest of the country? What might explain this difference? 

Behind the charts (from Fact Sheet)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps families to afford a basic diet. Participants use their benefits in grocery stores, supermarkets, and food retailers of all kinds to purchase food. SNAP participants redeem over 80 percent of their benefits at superstores and supermarkets.


Check out more charts and graphs with NGPF's Data Crunch resource


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.