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KWIC Indicator Narrative

Children and Youth Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits

Data Provider: NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance


Related Indicators:

  • Children Receiving SNAP Benefits 0-17 yrs [view data]

Life Area:

Economic Security


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program, is a federally-funded entitlement program designed to increase the food purchasing power of low-income households to a level that allows these households to purchase a low cost, but nutritionally adequate diet.

Generally, households are expected to devote 30 percent of their countable income to food, including households whose only income is from public assistance. SNAP then provides the difference between that amount and the maximum benefit. Maximum benefits are set at the amount needed to purchase the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Thrifty Food Plan. Income and resource limits in SNAP are somewhat higher than in public assistance programs, allowing more households to be eligible for food stamps than are eligible for public assistance. Consequently, more children in New York State receive food stamps than receive public assistance.


The number and percent of children receiving food stamps measures the extent to which children live in families that require governmental assistance to purchase a minimally adequate diet.


  • At the end of 2016, the number of children on SNAP was 1,075,207, or 25.7 percent of children in the State. This rate is 0.8 percentage points lower than at the end of 2010. Despite the small net negative change, 31 districts showed increases in the percentage of children on SNAP.  
  • The rate of SNAP receipt among children varied greatly across the state, ranging from a high of 34.1 percent in Chautauqua County to a low of 4.5 percent in Putnam County. New York City’s rate of 33.4 percent was among the highest in the State. The combined rate for non-New York City districts was 19.9 percent.
  • Downstate districts, including Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Putnam tended to have lower rates than elsewhere in the State.

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