Financial Self-Sufficiency
Households Receiving SNAP


Households Receiving SNAP

What does this measure?

The share of households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly called food stamps.

Why is this important?

SNAP provides restricted government funding for low-income people that can only be used to buy food. It therefore is an indication of how many people in a region rely on government assistance to meet their basic needs.

How is our county doing?

In 2013-17, 14% of Essex County households received SNAP benefits, up from 12% in 2008-12. The rate in Essex was a bit higher than the state (12%) and nation (13%). Rates were especially high in Lawrence (42%) and Lynn (29%) in 2013-17.

How do we compare to similar counties?

Essex households participated in SNAP at a higher rate than households in Middlesex, MA (8%) and Lake, IL and Westchester, NY (both 9%) in 2013-17.

Notes about the data

The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census.

Studies have found that national survey estimates (including the ACS) of enrollment in public benefit programs tend to underestimate the true rate due to underreporting by participants, when compared with state-level administrative data. Underreporting can occur for a variety of reasons, including the social stigma of program participation and participants' confusion about the source of the services they receive. For these reasons, the estimates reported above should be considered a lower bound of the true estimate.

Households Receiving SNAP
2008-122013-17
Essex County, MA12%14%
Amesbury4%*7%*
Beverly8%*11%
Gloucester8%*9%
Haverhill12%16%
Lawrence35%42%
Lynn25%29%
Methuen8%13%
Newburyport5%**5%**
Peabody9%13%
Salem15%16%
Andover4%*3%**
Boxford1%***1%***
Danvers5%*5%*
Essex3%***4%***
Georgetown2%***3%**
Groveland2%***3%***
Hamilton2%***3%***
Ipswich1%***5%**
Lynnfield1%***2%***
Manchester3%***5%***
Marblehead3%**3%**
Merrimac4%***4%***
Middleton3%***7%***
Nahant2%***8%**
Newbury1%***2%***
North Andover4%**5%*
Rockport6%**7%**
Rowley3%***5%***
Salisbury8%**9%*
Saugus8%*9%
Swampscott3%***10%*
Topsfield2%***3%***
Wenham3%***3%***
West Newbury4%***
Middlesex County, MA6%8%
Lake County, IL7%9%
Westchester County, NY7%9%
Massachusetts11%12%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




Number of Households Receiving SNAP
2008-122013-17
Essex County, MA33,37841,226
Amesbury240*525*
Beverly1,204*1,802
Gloucester965*1,218
Haverhill2,9303,754
Lawrence9,33410,852
Lynn8,5449,497
Methuen1,3862,218
Newburyport344**388**
Peabody1,8382,698
Salem2,6962,908
Andover512*397**
Boxford37***16***
Danvers506*558*
Essex49***51***
Georgetown59***109**
Groveland51***59***
Hamilton49***93***
Ipswich80***311**
Lynnfield42***81***
Manchester56***107***
Marblehead265**272**
Merrimac95***106***
Middleton76***213***
Nahant32***123**
Newbury22***43***
North Andover359**569*
Rockport198**214**
Rowley57***106***
Salisbury265**339*
Saugus792*966
Swampscott146***522*
Topsfield50***70***
Wenham34***41***
West Newbury65***
Middlesex County, MA36,10545,511
Lake County, IL16,26121,654
Westchester County, NY24,40829,876
Massachusetts269,178317,260

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




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