In fiscal year 2021, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, served an average of 41.5 million people monthly.  ERS reported this week the 2021 figure is an increase of about 5.8 million per month compared with fiscal year 2019.  SNAP participation increased nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic to around 12.5% of the total U.S. population in 2021 from about 10.9 percent in 2019.


In addition, SNAP participation data in February 2019 were artificially low because of the Federal Government shutdown at the time, impacting the average participation rate.  SNAP participation also varied across states because of differences in program administration and economic conditions.  Over this two-year period, 41 states saw an increase in SNAP participation, which ranged from a 0.1% increase in Mississippi to a 6.6% increase in the District of Columbia.  In D.C., the percentage of participants increased to 20.9% in FY 2021 from 14.3% in FY 2019. 


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