In fiscal year 2021, USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program served an average of 41.5 million people monthly. USDA’s Economic Research Service Wednesday reported the 2021 figure is an increase of about 5.8 million per month compared with fiscal year 2019.
SNAP participation increased nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic to around 12.5 percent of the total U.S. population in 2021 from about 10.9 percent in 2019. In addition, SNAP participation data in February 2019 were artificially low because of the Federal Government shutdown at the time, impacting the average participation rate.
SNAP participation also varied across states because of differences in program administration and economic conditions. Over this two-year period, 41 states saw an increase in SNAP participation, which ranged from a 0.1-percent increase in Mississippi to a 6.6-percent increase in the District of Columbia. In D.C., the percentage of participants increased to 20.9 percent in FY 2021 from 14.3 percent in FY 2019.