USDA spending on food and nutrition assistance programs declined further in FY 2023

Stacked line chart showing inflation-adjusted spending on food and nutrition assistance between fiscal years 1970 and 2023.

Federal spending on USDA’s food and nutrition assistance programs totaled $166.4 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2023, down 13 percent from $191.1 billion in FY 2022 and 18 percent from the peak of $202.4 billion in FY 2021 when adjusted for inflation to 2023 dollars. In FY 2023, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) spending fell 9 percent from the previous year’s inflation-adjusted amount to $112.8 billion despite an increase in participation and maximum benefit levels. This decline occurred because of the nationwide end of emergency allotments, which had temporarily raised all recipients’ benefits to at least the maximum for their household size beginning in March 2020. Spending on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) totaled $6.6 billion—an increase of 11 percent from inflation-adjusted spending in FY 2022—reflecting increases in program participation and food costs per participant. Combined spending on child nutrition programs totaled $26.9 billion in FY 2023, falling 24 percent from the inflation-adjusted total in the previous year. FY 2023 marked the first full fiscal year of child nutrition program operation after Federal waivers allowing schools to serve free meals to all students and raising Federal reimbursements for each free meal served expired at the end of June 2022. Combined spending on other programs fell in FY 2023 primarily because of lower spending on Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) in its final year of operation. This chart is based on data available as of December 2023 and appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Food and Nutrition Assistance Landscape: Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report, released June 2024.

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