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The Counties With the Lowest SNAP Benefit Usage Steven B. Sauter

Almost all goods and services have seen price increases due to inflation, including necessities like groceries. Comparing pre-pandemic prices to current ones, the price of a gallon of milk has increased by 25%. In comparison to a year ago, American families now spend $311 more per month on necessities, according to a study by Moody’s Analytics. Millions of Americans may need to rely on the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to survive the price increases.

Approximately 13.8 million American households, or about one in 10, received SNAP benefits in 2020. In contrast, SNAP assistance is scarce in some affluent communities on a more local level.

To identify the 50 counties with the lowest SNAP recipiency rates, 24/7 Wall St. analysed five-year estimates of the proportion of households that received SNAP benefits in the previous 12 months from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. 11.4 per cent of households in the United States as of 2020 were SNAP beneficiaries. This share varies between 3.5 per cent and just 1.0 per cent of households across the 50 counties or county-equivalents on this list.

Income is the main determinant of SNAP recipiency, though other elements like assets and household composition also have an impact on eligibility. As a result, counties with lower rates of poverty also have a tendency to have fewer households receiving benefits. 12.8 per cent of Americans were considered to be poor in 2020.

The poverty rate is less than 10% in 42 of the 50 counties or county-equivalents on this list, and in Douglas County, Colorado, the lowest percentage of the roughly 3,000 American counties is found—3.2% of the population. The majority of children living in poverty are found in these states.


Because SNAP eligibility is primarily determined by income, unemployment has a significant impact on the number of people who qualify for benefits because unemployed Americans are more likely to have low or no income. All counties on this list, except three, have average unemployment rates that are less than the 5.3% national rate over the past five years.

The five-year unemployment rate in Perkins County, Nebraska, is less than 1%, making it one of only a few counties nationwide. The worst increases in unemployment since the pandemics start have occurred in these states.

24/7 Wall St. examined five-year estimates of the proportion of households receiving SNAP benefits in the previous 12 months from the 2020 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau to identify the counties with the lowest SNAP recipiency rates.

If the 2020 ACS didn’t provide information on the SNAP recipiency rate, there were fewer than 500 households or the sampling error associated with a county’s data was deemed to be too high, the county was excluded.

If a county’s SNAP recipiency rate’s coefficient of variation, a statistical measure of how reliable an estimate is, was higher than 15% and more than two standard deviations above the mean CV for all counties’ SNAP recipiency rates, it was deemed that the sampling error was too high. Using the same definition, we similarly disregarded counties that had a sampling error that was excessive compared to their population.

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Counties were ranked according to the proportion of households that had received SNAP benefits over the previous 12 months. The number of households receiving SNAP benefits over the previous 12 months was used to break up ties.

Five-year projections from the 2020 ACS provide additional data on the rates of poverty, unemployment, and median household income.

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