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  • Food Stamp Program Certification Costs and Errors, 1989-2005: Final Report

    CCR-45, June 20, 2008

    Preventing and detecting certification errors in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) is a major policy concern. In 2005, the cost of overpayments was $1.29 billion, about 4.5 percent of the $28.6 billion in benefits issued. This report examines the State-level relationships between FSP certification error rates and certification expenditures, program policies, caseload characteristics, and economic conditions.

  • Impact of 2002-03 Farm Bill Restorations on Food Stamp Use by Legal Immigrants

    CCR-40, April 16, 2008

    This study used 1999-2004 Current Population Survey data in conjunction with the Urban Institute’s Transfer Income Model (TRIM3) to quantify the impact of the 2002 Farm Bill’s eligibility restorations. About half the estimated impact came from increases in newly eligible families, while the rest came from increases in eligible family members within already-eligible families (usually within families with citizen children).

  • The Costs of Benefit Delivery in the Food Stamp Program: Lessons From a Cross-Program Analysis

    CCR-39, April 04, 2008

    This study compares the Food Stamp Program (FSP) with eight other public assistance programs across four measures of program effectiveness—administrative costs, error payments, program access, and benefit targeting. The comparison includes two other USDA nutrition assistance programs, three cash assistance programs, and three programs providing noncash benefits other than food or nutrition assistance.

  • Informing Food and Nutrition Assistance Policy

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2008

    Since 1998, Congress has provided ERS with funds to study and evaluate the Nation’s 15 domestic food and nutrition assistance programs. These programs provide participants with food, the means to purchase food, and nutrition education. In recent years, about one in five Americans, at some time during the year, have participated in at least one of these assistance programs, which account for over half of USDA’s annual budget.

  • Sources of Variation in State-Level Food Stamp Participation Rates

    CCR-37, March 10, 2008

    In 2003, about 56 percent of those eligible to participate in the Food Stamp Program actually participated. The participation rate varied substantially across States, ranging from a high of 83 percent in Oregon to a low of 43 percent in Massachusetts. Using data for 2003 from the Food Stamp Program Quality Control and Current Population Survey, this study examined factors that help to explain the variation.

  • Household Food Security and Tradeoffs in the Food Budget of Food Stamp Program Participants: An Engel Function Approach

    CCR-38, March 10, 2008

    This study develops a framework for differentiating true Food Stamp Program (FSP) impacts on food security from those that arise because households with the most severe food-related hardships are more likely to participate in the program. The framework hypothesizes that food spending improvements are the likely causal link between FSP participation and enhanced food security.

  • Effect of State Food Stamp and TANF Policies on Food Stamp Program Participation

    CCR-36, January 08, 2008

    The effectiveness of the Food Stamp Program (FSP) depends on the extent to which it reaches those who are entitled to benefits. In the mid- to late 1990s, participation fell sharply. In recent years, it rebounded somewhat, reaching 65.1 percent in 2005.

  • Are Lower Income Households Willing and Able To Budget for Fruits and Vegetables?

    ERR-54, January 07, 2008

    Households have a number of needs and wants that all compete for scarce resources. Given this situation, are low-income households, in particular, generally willing and able to budget for healthful foods like fruits and vegetables, or are other goods and services, including other foods, more of a priority? For six out of seven selected types of food, we find that households with an income below 130 percent of the poverty line spend less money than higher income households. However, we also find that these households, when given a small increase in income, will allocate more money to only two out of the seven products, beef and frozen prepared foods. These foods may be priorities for reasons of taste and convenience. For additional money to be allocated to fruits and vegetables, a household's income needs to be slightly greater than 130 percent of the poverty line.

  • Factors Associated With Iron Status Among WIC Infants and Toddlers in Rural West Virginia

    CCR-35, December 19, 2007

    Iron deficiency severe enough to cause anemia may affect children’s ability to grow and learn and, consequently, their lifelong productivity and earnings. This study examined the iron status of infants and toddlers ages 6-24 months with a prevalence of anemia of at least 10 percent participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in West Virginia counties. Blood screening performed especially for this study found that 12 of the 57 infants and toddlers (21 percent) were iron deficient, considerably more than the 4 of 49 (8 percent) with anemia.

  • The Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity

    CCR-34, December 19, 2007

    This report uses 1985-2000 data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine the effects of the Food Stamp Program on obesity. The effects are found to differ by gender, level of benefits, and duration of participation.

  • Informing Food and Nutrition Assistance Policy: 10 Years of Research at ERS

    MP-1598, December 06, 2007

    Since 1998, Congress has provided funds to ERS to study and evaluate the Nation's domestic food and nutrition assistance programs. ERS has become the premier source of food and nutrition assistance research in the United States, sponsoring over 600 publications on a wide range of topics related to food and nutrition assistance. This report, prepared at the 10-year anniversary of the FANRP program, highlights some of the key research conducted during the program's first decade.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 2007

    ERR-66, November 17, 2007

    Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2007, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (11.1 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year. About one-third of food insecure households (4.1 percent of all U.S. households) had very low food security-meaning that the food intake of one or more adults was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. Prevalence rates of food insecurity and very low food security were essentially unchanged from those in 2005 and 2006.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More To Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective

    EIB-29, September 27, 2007

    Eight economic information bulletins compile evidence to address the question of whether the Food Stamp Program could do more to encourage healthful food choices.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective-Stretching the Food Stamp Dollar: Regional Price Differences Affect Affordability of Food

    EIB-29-2, September 27, 2007

    Significant regional differences in food prices affect how far food stamp benefits can go toward enhancing the diet of low-income consumers in a given region. In regions where average food prices exceed the national average, food stamp benefits may not provide the same level of coverage as the same benefit would in below-average-price regions. This report measures average prices paid across U.S. regions. Results show that a household made up of a family of four in the East or West could spend $32-$48 more per month for a similar amount of food than the average U.S. household, whereas a household in the South and Midwest could spend $12-28 less per month than the average U.S. household.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective-Making Healthy Food Choices Easier: Ideas From Behavioral Economics

    EIB-29-7, September 27, 2007

    With obesity the most prevalent nutrition problem facing Americans at all economic levels, promoting diets that provide adequate nutrition without too many calories has become an important objective for the Food Stamp Program. Findings from behavioral economics suggest innovative, low-cost ways to improve the diet quality of food stamp participants without restricting their freedom of choice. Unlike more traditional economic interventions, such as changing prices or banning specific foods, the strategies explored in this brief can be targeted to those participants who want help making more healthful food choices.

  • Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs and Obesity: 1976-2002

    ERR-48, September 21, 2007

    ERS investigated the extent to which overweight and obesity have increased over time among food food and nutrition assistance recipients compared with nonrecipient groups.

  • An Assessment of the Impact of Medicaid Managed Care on WIC Program Coordination With Primary Care Services

    CCR-33, September 19, 2007

    Coordination between the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Medicaid has been an important component to ensuring access to primary care services for WIC clients. This study examines how increased use of managed care in the Medicaid program has affected WIC program coordination efforts.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective—Nutrition Information: Can It Improve the Diets of Low-Income Households?

    EIB-29-6, September 03, 2007

    The Food Stamp Nutrition Education (FSNE) component of the Food Stamp Program is intended to improve the food choices, diet quality, and health of program participants. This brief discusses the FSNE program, how it operates, and how it has grown over time. The brief also considers the challenges of nutrition education in general and discusses the research and evaluation needs suggested by the findings.

  • A Study of Locality, Agency, and Individual Characteristics Affecting Food Stamp Program Participation in Virginia

    CCR-32, August 13, 2007

    This study explores participation by Food Stamp Program recipients in other government programs, factors that explain variation in food stamp participation across Virginia’s localities, and ways in which the findings support other food stamp participation rate research. Study findings show that cross-program enrollment could be improved and that local agency factors are likely contributing to differing participation rates across Virginia.

  • RIDGE Project Summaries, 2006: Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Program

    CCR-31, August 07, 2007

    This report summarizes research findings from the Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Program (RIDGE), formerly known as the Small Grants Program. The report includes summaries of the research findings of projects that were awarded 1-year grants in summer and fall 2005. The projects examine issues of obesity in children and immigrants, food assistance program participation and household well-being, food security, community influence on food assistance and dietary choices, food prices and quality, and child nutrition.