The Economics of SNAP


By Martha Sherman, Advocacy Intern


As you may know, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), formerly known as food stamps, provides healthy food to millions of Americans each month. It is our nation’s first defense against hunger, and helps many working families, children, seniors, and people with disabilities put food on the table.


Beyond its impact on the health and well-being of millions of Americans, SNAP also supports local economies. When someone spends their SNAP dollars buying produce at a grocery store, not only do they benefit, but the people who work at the grocery store, and the farmer who grew the produce also benefit. In fact, for every $1 increase in SNAP benefits, there is a $1.70 increase in economic activity. Here are six other facts you probably didn’t know about how SNAP helps the economy:



1. Every $1 billion in retail food purchased by SNAP recipients generates about 3,300 farm jobs. This would mean that a $193 billion cut in SNAP (as the President called for earlier this year) would result in the loss of 636,900 jobs.

2. In 2009, supermarkets brought in over $25 billion in SNAP benefits. SNAP is an important source of revenue for many small businesses and convenience stores, especially in high-poverty areas. About 80% of stores that are authorized to accept SNAP are small businesses.

3. For Pennsylvania stores SNAP helps to drive their sales as over 10,000 stores accept SNAP.

4. Farmers are directly benefiting from SNAP dollars. Every year, about $22.4 million dollars in SNAP benefits are spent at farmer’s markets.

5. People who eat well are more economically productive. They work more efficiently, and take fewer sick days. Also, every dollar that is invested in nutrition saves $138 in improved health and productivity.


SNAP provides food to our most vulnerable citizens, helping them get back on their feet. Besides the immediate benefits, it also provides much needed money and economic stimulus to local businesses.


Call your Congressperson today at 1-888-398-8702 and tell them why SNAP is important to you. Members of Congress are currently considering the Farm Bill, legislation that includes SNAP, and they need to know why the program is important.
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