SNAP matters to households that struggle against hunger in communities across Utah

A new tool released last week shows that participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is prevalent throughout Utah, and 1 percent higher in rural communities and one percent lower in small town counties than in metro areas, according to SNAP Maps, a new interactive data tool released by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC, a national anti-hunger advocacy group).

FRAC’s SNAP Maps provide household participation rates by county in each state, and by state. Counties are grouped into one of three categories: Metro, Small Town, and Rural. On average in the years 2011-2015, 8.9 percent of households in Utah received SNAP benefits.

“Utahns across the state rely on SNAP to feed their families. It doesn’t matter if they live in Ogden, Hurricane, or Price, Utah families use SNAP to purchase groceries; in rural communities ten percent of residents participate in SNAP, in metro areas it’s nine percent,” said Gina Cornia, executive director, Utahns Against Hunger.  “SNAP moves Americans out of hunger and poverty, including 53,000 Utahns. It is one of the nation’s very best investments.”

Both the president’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget and the House Budget Committee’s FY 2018 budget resolution propose dramatic cuts to this proven, effective program. Such cuts would have a devastating impact on children, seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, working families, and others across the state. In Utah, 56 percent of SNAP households include children, and 86 percent of SNAP households have one or more working members, 11 percent higher than the national average. 

“Utah families and individuals need support while they are working to support their families. Vulnerable groups like seniors, people with disabilities, and children need that support. We want Utah’s elected officials, from mayors to our members of Congress, to understand that SNAP plays a key role in lifting and keeping their constituents out of hunger and poverty,” said Cornia.