Millions of Americans Continue to Struggle Against Poverty – Protecting and Strengthening SNAP is an Essential Response


Millions of Americans Continue to Struggle Against Poverty
Protecting and Strengthening SNAP is an Essential Response

_Statement attributed to Jim Weill, president, Food Research & Action

WASHINGTON, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 ? Nearly 40 million people in the
United States live in poverty, according to today?s annual release [1] of income, poverty, and health insurance data from the U.S. Census
Bureau. The data reveal a small and not statistically significant
decline in the poverty rate, from 12.7 percent in 2016 to 12.3 percent
in 2017.

Another key indicator of poverty is the Supplemental Poverty Measure
(SPM), which extends the official poverty measure in a number of
respects, including taking into account many of the federal programs
designed to assist low-income families and individuals, including the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the first line of
defense against hunger in this country. The SPM rate was 13.9 percent in
2017, statistically the same as the 2016 rate of 14 percent.

The SPM data show that in 2017, SNAP lifted 3.4 million people out of
poverty, school lunches lifted 1.2 million out of poverty, and WIC
lifted 279,000 people out of poverty. These numbers likely understate
the positive impacts of the program. Researchers have found that some
respondents are reluctant to tell surveyors that they are receiving SNAP
or other program benefits. Adjusting the data to reflect the estimated
actual receipt of SNAP, in particular, substantially increases its
anti-poverty effects. If not for these programs, poverty rates would be
far worse.

Federal and state governments need to be doing more to reduce poverty
and hunger, not taking steps to undercut effective programs. One
important step that Congress can take now is to pass a Farm Bill that
protects and strengthens SNAP. This means rejecting the proposed cuts to
SNAP in the House bill that would increase poverty and hunger for
children, seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, working families,
and others across the country.



FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to
eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United
States. Visit our website to learn more.


Food Research & Action Center
1200 18th Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 986-2200



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