In the Long Run

USDA Food Assistance Expenditures Rising

Expenditures for USDA’s food assistance programs have grown from $1.6 billion in fiscal year 1970 to a record $46 billion in fiscal 2004. Most of this increase is due to the Food Stamp Program, which has accounted for an annual average of 60 percent of total food assistance expenditures during this time period. While expenditures for WIC and the school meals programs have trended upward over time, expenditures for the Food Stamp Program have fluctuated more widely. Historically, participation in the Food Stamp Program has risen during recessionary periods and fallen during periods of economic growth.