Additional SNAP benefits provided by the 2009 stimulus package improved food security

A chart showing the percentage of households with very low food security from years 1999 to 2009.

Very low food security is a severe range of food insecurity characterized by reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns of one or more household members (usually adults) due to inadequate resources for food. The percentage of households with very low food security jumped in 2008 as the economy slid into recession and the unemployment rate increased. However, the incidence of very low food insecurity stabilized from 2008 to 2009, despite continued rising unemployment during the year. ERS research found that the increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit levels and expanded eligibility provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 reduced food insecurity among low-income households eligible for SNAP. As a result, there were an estimated 480,000 fewer households with very low food insecurity in 2009 than would have been expected given economic and demographic changes from 2008 to 2009. This chart comes from the June 2011 issue of Amber Waves magazine.

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