By the numbers
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — colloquially known as “food stamps” and, in Wisconsin, also called FoodShare — has grown over time both in the number of people receiving benefits and in the percentage of households doing so.
Recent Badger Institute work on the program includes…
- A viewpoint from President Mike Nichols about what can be bought with SNAP benefits.
- A policy brief about the length of the pandemic-era plus-up of eligibility for SNAP benefits.
- Testimony to the Legislature by Badger Institute Visiting Fellow Angela Rachidi on the link between workforce participation and SNAP benefits.
So what has been the trend in Wisconsin households’ use of FoodShare, or SNAP?
The underlying numbers
The number of Wisconsin households receiving food benefits via the program now called FoodShare rose from an annual average of 119,455 in 2003 to 370,431 in 2023. The number of Wisconsin households on FoodShare benefits peaked in 2014 at 420,833.
The annual averages are:
The number of households in Wisconsin in the 2000 Census was 2.08 million, so about 5.7% were using food benefits in the average month in 2003.
The percentage peaked in 2014, when the average number of households using benefits in a month was about 18% of the 2.31 million households in the state.
In 2020, the percentage was 15% of the 2.49 million households.
Here, “years” means federal fiscal years, ending Sept. 30. The 2023 figure is an 11-month average; the rest are 12-month.
Figures are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service program data and from the Census Bureau.
Published in the Nov. 17 issue of Top Picks.