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Download North Carolina SNAP Fact Sheet

The Supplemental Nutrition Program is known as Food and Nutrition Services in North Carolina and was formerly called Food Stamps


The number of SNAP recipients has been decreasing in recent years, but is still elevated from pre-Great Recession totals, primarily because improvements in our nation’s overall economy haven’t translated into gains for the most vulnerable among us. 

Funding for SNAP benefits comes entirely from the federal government. The federal government also splits the cost of administering the program with the states, and the states are responsible for operating the program. Total federal spending on SNAP in FY2015 was about $75 billion, down from a high of $83 billion in 2013. (For reference, that’s about 2% of the total federal budget.) The Congressional Budget Office projects that spending on SNAP will continue to decline.


Nationally, nearly two-thirds of those who receive SNAP benefits are children (44%), seniors (11%) and people with disabilities (10%). About 90 percent of SNAP beneficiaries are households with incomes below the poverty line.


SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food for the household to eat (but not prepared foods). That’s it. SNAP benefits may not be used to purchase tobacco products, alcohol, vitamins, medicines, or non-food items such as household supplies.


SNAP usage is vigorously monitored by one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program. As a result, fewer than 1 percent of SNAP benefits are issued to households that do not meet all of the program’s eligibility requirements.

The simple truth is this: SNAP is the nation’s frontline defense against hunger.

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SNAP Supports Kids: Nearly 43% of North Carolinians enrolled in SNAP are children. Over 663,000 kids in our state get essential nutrition necessary for their physical, emotional and mental growth through this program.

SNAP Supports Seniors and People Living with a Disability: Nearly 20% of North Carolinians receiving SNAP are elderly or disabled. 151,000 North Carolina seniors and 154,000 non-elderly disabled people can eat better for their health because of SNAP.

SNAP Supports the North Carolina Economy: For every dollar of SNAP benefits spent, roughly $1.73 is added to the local economy. In Fiscal Year 2015, SNAP generated $4,072,435,656.20 in economic activity in our state.

SNAP Supports Jobs: A 2010 study by the USDA found that for every $1 billion of added SNAP funding, between 8,900 and 17,000 jobs were created. A 10% cut in SNAP funds would result in the loss of 3,372 North Carolina jobs.

SNAP Supports Retailers: More than 10% of all spending on food to be eaten at home comes from SNAP spending. In one month in 2016, SNAP funded around $174,341,866.51 of sales in North Carolina.

SNAP Supports Transportation Jobs: Food needs to be moved from farms to stores and SNAP dollars help support truck drivers and others who work in wholesale transportation, a vital North Carolina occupation.

SNAP Supports Agriculture: About 23% of SNAP spending is on protein, providing North Carolina farmers, including chicken farmers (our largest farm commodity), an important source of revenue. Nationwide, program participants spend roughly $70 billion in SNAP benefits each year, including more than $19.4 million at farmers markets.

SNAP Supports Ending Hunger: SNAP spending in North Carolina helped to lift 340,000 people out of poverty in 2016. SNAP reduces food insecurity and helps North Carolinians access the nutritious food they need to survive and thrive.

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USDA, SNAP Characteristics 2014, table B.14, published 8/16/2016,

US Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, State and County Estimates for 2015, accessed
December 2016,

USDA, SNAP Characteristics 2014, table B.14, Published 8/16/2016,

USDA, SNAP Characteristics 2014, table B.15, Published 8/16/2016,

Derived from the data in the above sources

Zandi, Mark M, Assessing the Macro Economic Impact of Fiscal Stimulus 2008, pp 3-4, Moody’s, Jan 2008,

USDA, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program State Activity Report Fiscal Year 2015, pp 5, published October

Hanson, Kenneth, The Food Assistance National Input-Output Multiplier (FANIOM) Model and the Stimulus
Effects of SNAP,  USDA, Economic Research Service, October 2010,

Thompson, Jeffrey and Garrett-Peltier, Heidi, The Economic Consequences of Cutting the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program, Published March 2012, The Center for American Progress, cutting-the-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program/

mer. J. Agr. Econ. 95(2): 325–331

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Policy Basics: Introduction to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program (SNAP), March 2016,

USDA, Data from SNAP Nutrition Tables: October 2016, last accessed December 2016,

USDA, Quick Facts, Economic Research Service, November 2016,

USDA, State Fact Sheets, Economic Research Service, November 2016, table: “Top 5 agriculture commodities,

Garasky, Steven and et al, Foods Typically Purchased by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Households,  USDA, November 2016,

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Impact of the Safety Net: State Fact Sheets, Data Sources, and
Calculations, Published 8/22/2016 net-state-fact-sheets-data-sources-and-calculations

Feeding America analysis based on estimates of lost benefits by states by the Center on Budget and
Policy Priorities, House 2017 Budget Plan Would Slash SNAP by More than $150 Billion Over Ten Years, Table 1, March 2016 slash-snap-by-more-than-150-billion-over-ten








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