FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Adach, 202.986.2200 x3018
Washington, D.C. – April 17, 2012 – As the House Agriculture Committee prepares this week to mark up a budget reconciliation measure that threatens large cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), a new analysis (pdf) by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) finds that food hardship is as prevalent in the mostly rural districts of members of the House Agriculture Committee as it is in the rest of the nation.
In the 2010-2011 period nearly one in five households told the Gallup organization that they didn’t have the resources to buy food at times in the previous months. The median rate in Congressional Districts whose representatives are on the House Agriculture Committee was 18.3 percent. The median rate among all Congressional Districts was 18.2 percent. The rate in committee chairman Frank Lucas’ district was 18.9 percent.
These data come from FRAC’s analysis of answers to the question asked by the Gallup organization of more than 692,000 households in 2010-2011: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”
FRAC pointed out that the data are consistent also with findings that the proportion of rural households (14.6 percent in 2010) which rely on SNAP (food stamps) is higher than among suburban households (9.0 percent) and is comparable to central city households (14.8 percent). (See Figure 1, University of New Hampshire, Carsey Institute, Issue Brief No. 39, Fall 2011.)
Not only are there such substantial rates of use of SNAP in rural areas, but the USDA Economic Research Service announced last week that SNAP is even more effective in reducing the depth and severity of poverty in nonmetropolitan areas than in metro areas.
“Hunger is just as prevalent or more prevalent in rural America than in metro America,” said Jim Weill, FRAC President. “These data are a reminder that even Agriculture Committee members from rural as well as metro areas typically have more constituents – both farmers and others – struggling with hunger than they have constituents who are farming.”
“As the House Agriculture Committee goes to mark up reconciliation instructions, it is essential that its members fully recognize the widespread hunger in their districts and the essential role of SNAP in alleviating that hunger,” said Weill. “The cuts to SNAP foreshadowed by the House Budget Committee instructions are unconscionable not just for the nation as a whole, but for the constituents of the Agriculture Committee members. Members should reject SNAP cuts and strengthen the program.”
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is the lead advocacy organization working to end hunger in America through stronger public policies. For more information, visit www.frac.org. Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter.