Inflation has driven up the prices of nearly all goods and services, including necessary items such as groceries. The cost of a gallon of milk is up 25% compared to pre-pandemic prices. According to a report by Moody’s Analytics, American families pay $311 more each month, on average, for essential goods compared to one year ago. To survive the price hikes, millions of Americans may have to rely on the government’s food assistance benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
As of 2020, roughly 13.8 million American households, about one in 10, received SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps. At the more local level, SNAP recipiency is much higher in some areas.
To find the 50 ZIP codes with the highest SNAP recipiency rates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the share of households that received SNAP benefits in the past 12 months from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. As of 2020, 11.4% of U.S. households received SNAP benefits. Among the 50 ZIP codes on this list, that share ranges from 47.4% to 71.5% of households.
While factors such as assets and household composition impact whether a household qualifies, SNAP recipiency is primarily determined by income. So, as might be expected, ZIP codes with higher poverty rates also tend to have more households receiving benefits. In 2020, 12.8% of Americans lived below the poverty line. All but one of the 50 ZIP codes on this list have a poverty rate of at least 20%, and in 12, more than half of the population lives in poverty. In the case of the ZIP code 57570, which comprises the communities of Rosebud and Two Strike, South Dakota, 71.9% live in poverty, the second highest poverty rate of any ZIP code nationwide. These are the states where the most children live in Poverty.
Because income is the primary determinant for SNAP recipiency, unemployment is a major determinant in how many people receive benefits, as those Americans who are out of a job are likely to have little to no income. Most of the ZIP codes on this list have five-year average unemployment rates of at least 10%, compared to the U.S. five-year average unemployment rate of 5.3%. ZIP code 36775, a relatively rural place west of Montgomery, Alabama, has the 14th highest SNAP recipiency rate and a five-year unemployment rate of 32.0%, the fifth highest of any ZIP code nationwide. These are the states with the worst spikes in unemployment since the pandemic began.
Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor
Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.