More than just providing rural families with food during financially tough times, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds save rural jobs and boost rural economies, a new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service found.
And those benefits help rural economies almost three times as much as they help urban economies, the study said.
The “Impact of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on Rural and Urban Economies in the Aftermath of the Great Recession” looked at household expenditures of SNAP benefits between 2009 and 2014. Then, using simulation modeling, researchers determined the impact those benefits had on industry outputs, household income, and employment in both rural and urban economies.
SNAP is the largest anti-hunger program in the United States and provides nutrition assistance payments to low-income Americans for food purchases. Prior to the Great Recession, SNAP benefits totaled $34.7 billion. But after the recession, SNAP benefits, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, were increased to an average of $71 billion.