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Report: Greater Need For Food Assistance In Rural Areas

Posted On August 12, 2014

By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service

A higher percentage of rural households use SNAP benefits to fill empty plates than in urban areas, according to a new analysis of SNAP data by the Center for Rural Affairs. Photo credit: Andrea Church/ morgufile.

A higher percentage of rural households use SNAP benefits to fill empty plates than in urban areas, according to a new analysis of SNAP data by the Center for Rural Affairs. Photo credit: Andrea Church/ morgufile.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Oftentimes, the issue of hunger is associated with people in inner cities, where the cost of living tends to be high.

But a new study shows some of the greatest need can be found where America’s food supply is grown and raised.

Jon Bailey, director of rural public policy program for the Center for Rural Affairs, authored the report, which examines the use of food stamps, now called SNAP benefits, from 2008 to 2012.

“And what we found is that during that time period, more households in rural areas received SNAP benefits than did households in more urban – both metropolitan and small-city – areas,” he says.

During the years reviewed, more than 14 percent of rural households received SNAP benefits, compared to slightly less than 11 percent of urban households.

In Indiana, about 908,000 people are SNAP recipients, and the benefits average just over $130 per person, per month.

Another key finding, says Bailey, is that rural areas and small cities have higher percentages of households with seniors and children receiving food support than in larger urban areas.

“SNAP is providing a way for those people and those households to meet their food needs, which is important,” he points out, “because those two population groups are probably most at risk of hunger and food insecurity.”

In rural areas, one in nine households has a SNAP recipient who is either under age 18, or an adult 60 years of age or older.