SNAP Adequacy for Households with Adolescents

Grants and Contracts Details


The Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) is one of the largest anti-poverty programs for children in the United States. Despite this, it is possible that SNAP benefits are inadequate when it comes to providing adolescent children with proper nutrition. For households with children, SNAP benefit amounts are the same regardless of the child’s age. However, adolescent children have the same dietary needs as adults. This creates a mechanical gap between the benefit amount households with adolescents need and the amount they receive. This mechanical gap can then be exacerbated by local food prices. Because SNAP benefits are fixed across the continental United States, the real value of SNAP benefits varies widely across the country. Therefore, households with multiple adolescents in high cost areas may struggle to maintain a healthful, nutritious diet. This project aims to estimate the magnitude and impact of the benefit gap for households with adolescents taking into account the dietary needs of adolescents and local food prices. Using the Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) we plan to construct the gap measure for SNAP and SNAP-eligible households. Information on local food prices will come from store-level scanner data provided by Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Information on household demographics and geographic information, including access to food, will come from the FoodAPS household and geographic components, respectively. Once the gap is constructed, we can then test its impact on household food security, nutritional intake, and other measures of well-being.
Effective start/end date3/1/188/31/18


  • Economic Research Service


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