Food & Nutrition Assistance
Child Nutrition Programs
ERS conducts research on USDA's child nutrition programs and their role in children's food security, diets, and well-being. ERS studies the following child nutrition programs: the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program, and After-School Snacks and Suppers. Updated charts and data are based on 2018 data from the Food and Nutrition Service, USDA.
RIDGE Program and Extramural Research
The Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Program encourages new and innovative research on food and nutrition assistance issues and broadens the participation of social science scholars in such research. RIDGE is funded by ERS and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and is administered in partnership with Tufts University and the University of Connecticut (UConn). On June 3, 2019, the RIDGE Program announced that it has funded eight new research grants to enhance food security and dietary quality in Federal nutrition assistance programs. Using a wide variety of data sources, including surveys, administrative data, and qualitative methods, these eight research projects can inform programs that provide nutrition assistance to people at all ages and in all parts of the country.
Food Security in the U.S.
Food security—access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life—is one requirement for a healthy, well-nourished population. ERS plays a leading role in Federal research on food security in U.S. households and communities.
Poverty & Income Volatility
ERS examines the economic well-being of low-income participants and households in the various food and nutrition assistance programs.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the Nation’s largest domestic food and nutrition assistance program for low-income Americans. ERS research focuses on SNAP’s effectiveness in meeting income support and diet quality objectives.
ERS conducts studies and evaluations of the WIC Program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), the third largest USDA domestic food and nutrition assistance program. The WIC program served about 7.3 million participants per month in fiscal year 2017, including almost half of all infants born in the United States.