(STACKER) — Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity throughout the United States affected more than 37 million people, among them 11 million children. That number, though staggering, represented the lowest point of food insecurity in the country in almost 90 years.
Against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, the national hunger-relief organization Feeding America expects more than 42 million Americans to face food shortages during 2021.
This demand puts additional strain on food pantries and hunger-relief organizations and drives the need for increases in the country’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known previously as food stamps).
Virginia by the numbers
- Percent of households receiving food stamps: 10.7%
- Total households receiving food stamps: 342,330
- Average monthly benefit per household: $241 (#23 highest among all states)
Virginia’s median household income is well above the national average, but the gap between rich and poor in the state keeps growing.
The U.S. Census Bureau uses the Gini index, a mathematical equation used to measure inequality in income, and Virginia’s Gini index rose from 2017 to 2018.
Virginia in 2019 received a $3.8 million penalty for mistakes in processing food stamp applications.
United States by the numbers
States using food stamps the most:
1. New Mexico (27.6% of households)
2. Rhode Island (22.2% of households)
3. Washington D.C. (22.0% of households)
States using food stamps the least:
1. Wyoming (5.0% of households)
2. Utah (7.0% of households)
3. North Dakota (7.2% of households)
Stacker, a company that uses data to report information, compiled a list of the states where food stamps are used the most using SNAP data released July 10, 2020, by the USDA. The number of households and the poverty rate are current as of 2019 data from the Census Bureau. States are ranked by the percent of households that received food stamps in April 2020. Additional information came from sources like the Center for American Progress, Feeding America, and state websites and local food banks.