Financial Self-Sufficiency
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17


Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17

What does this measure?

The proportion of households broken out by race and ethnicity that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps).

Why is this important?

The SNAP program provides government funding for low-income people to buy food. It therefore indicates how many people in a region cannot support themselves at a basic level. Differences among racial and ethnic groups may reflect the economic health of these groups, as well as potential disparities in access to economic opportunity.

How is our county doing?

In 2013-17, 42% of Hispanic residents and 26% of African American residents participated in SNAP, compared to 12% of Asian residents and 11% of white residents. These rates were similar to the state and nation, except the Hispanic rate was substantially lower nationwide (22%). Participation among Asians also was somewhat lower at the national level (7%). Within Essex County, the City of Lawrence had by far the highest participation rate for whites (41%), as well as a high rate for Hispanic residents (50%). Lynn had a particularly high participation rate for African Americans (32%).

Since 2008-12, Essex County had slight increases in SNAP participation among Hispanic and white residents of 4 percentage points and 3 points, respectively. Participation among African Americans declined slightly (2 points).

How do we compare to similar counties?

In 2013-17, Essex County had a substantially higher SNAP participation rate for Hispanic residents than Middlesex, MA (22%), and more than twice as high as Lake, IL and Westchester, NY (both at 19%). The rate for African Americans in Essex was lower than Lake (31%), but higher than Westchester (19%) and slightly higher than Middlesex (23%). Rates for Asian and white residents in Essex were somewhat higher than in the comparison counties.

Notes about the data

The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.

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 by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Essex County, MA12%26%42%11%
Amesbury24%******0%******18%******7%**
Beverly8%******22%******32%******11%
Gloucester0%******39%******16%******9%
Haverhill3%******11%******37%14%
Lawrence17%******28%**50%41%
Lynn33%**32%40%22%
Methuen0%******25%******30%10%
Newburyport15%******72%******0%******4%****
Peabody0%******23%******50%**12%
Salem0%******24%******49%**12%
Andover2%******17%******27%******3%****
Boxford0%******N/A******0%******1%******
Danvers15%******0%******24%******5%**
EssexN/A******N/A******0%******4%******
Georgetown0%******0%******0%******3%****
Groveland0%******0%******0%******3%******
Hamilton45%******0%******N/A******2%******
Ipswich0%******33%******0%******5%****
Lynnfield0%******0%******0%******2%******
ManchesterN/A******N/A******0%******5%******
Marblehead12%******0%******0%******3%****
Merrimac0%******N/A******N/A******4%******
Middleton0%******N/A******58%******7%******
Nahant0%******0%******43%******8%****
Newbury0%******N/A******0%******2%******
North Andover0%******18%******15%******5%**
RockportN/A******N/A******0%******6%****
RowleyN/A******0%******0%******5%******
Salisbury63%******0%******27%******9%**
Saugus3%******5%******17%******10%
Swampscott0%******0%******0%******10%**
Topsfield0%******N/A******0%******3%******
Wenham0%******N/A******0%******3%******
West Newbury0%******N/A******0%******0%******
Middlesex County, MA9%23%22%6%
Lake County, IL6%**31%19%7%
Westchester County, NY5%**19%19%5%
Massachusetts12%28%38%10%

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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-17
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Essex County, MA9852,78718,34927,288
Amesbury16******0******20******509**
Beverly13******28******110******1,673
Gloucester0******42******26******1,156
Haverhill8******74******1,3952,891
Lawrence87******512**9,4176,095
Lynn709**1,4943,8954,063
Methuen0******193******1,1581,474
Newburyport15******56******0******317****
Peabody0******110******746**2,312
Salem0******173******1,212**1,805
Andover26******37******98******278****
Boxford0******0******0******16******
Danvers28******0******87******503**
Essex0******0******0******51******
Georgetown0******0******0******109****
Groveland0******0******0******59******
Hamilton47******0******0******46******
Ipswich0******10******0******301****
Lynnfield0******0******0******81******
Manchester0******0******0******107******
Marblehead11******0******0******261****
Merrimac0******0******0******106******
Middleton0******0******21******213******
Nahant0******0******9******123****
Newbury0******0******0******43******
North Andover0******50******90******485**
Rockport0******0******0******200****
Rowley0******0******0******106******
Salisbury17******0******12******322**
Saugus8******8******53******950
Swampscott0******0******0******522**
Topsfield0******0******0******70******
Wenham0******0******0******41******
West Newbury0******0******0******0******
Middlesex County, MA4,9675,9857,87629,798
Lake County, IL910**5,3136,86413,462
Westchester County, NY978**9,68512,27412,423
Massachusetts16,09346,71785,652206,229

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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2008-12
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Essex County, MA13%28%38%8%
Amesbury0%******48%******0%******3%****
Beverly0%******31%******25%******7%**
Gloucester0%******21%******25%******7%**
Haverhill22%******24%******35%**10%
Lawrence20%******38%**44%26%
Lynn31%**29%36%22%
Methuen0%******10%******24%**6%
Newburyport0%******0%******0%******5%**
Peabody8%******9%******33%**8%
Salem9%******33%****43%**12%
Andover7%******15%******22%******4%**
Boxford0%******N/A******N/A******1%******
Danvers9%******22%******13%******5%**
Essex0%******N/A******N/A******4%******
GeorgetownN/A******0%******0%******2%******
Groveland0%******N/A******0%******2%******
Hamilton0%******0%******66%******2%******
Ipswich0%******N/A******0%******1%******
Lynnfield0%******0%******0%******1%******
ManchesterN/A******N/A******0%******3%******
Marblehead0%******0%******12%******3%****
MerrimacN/A******100%******55%******3%******
Middleton33%******100%******0%******0%******
NahantN/A******0%******0%******2%******
NewburyN/A******0%******N/A******1%******
North Andover0%******0%******14%******3%****
RockportN/A******0%******N/A******6%****
RowleyN/A******0%******0%******3%******
SalisburyN/A******0%******36%******8%****
Saugus0%******57%******12%******8%**
Swampscott0%******0%******21%******2%******
Topsfield0%******N/A******N/A******2%******
Wenham0%******N/A******N/A******3%******
West NewburyN/A******N/A******68%******4%******
Middlesex County, MA8%17%20%5%
Lake County, IL4%**26%16%5%
Westchester County, NY3%**18%17%4%
Massachusetts11%25%37%8%

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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2008-12
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Essex County, MA9262,59814,45019,873
Amesbury0******11******0******215****
Beverly0******56******126******1,061**
Gloucester0******23******61******866**
Haverhill77******182******1,003**2,028
Lawrence141******547**8,0532,678
Lynn511**1,2462,9974,993
Methuen0******37******608**852
Newburyport0******0******0******335**
Peabody35******31******390**1,482
Salem31******340****838**1,847
Andover73******16******114******404**
Boxford0******0******0******37******
Danvers11******25******19******470**
Essex0******0******0******49******
Georgetown0******0******0******59******
Groveland0******0******0******51******
Hamilton0******0******37******49******
Ipswich0******0******0******80******
Lynnfield0******0******0******42******
Manchester0******0******0******56******
Marblehead0******0******16******249****
Merrimac0******18******18******77******
Middleton47******17******0******12******
Nahant0******0******0******32******
Newbury0******0******0******22******
North Andover0******0******50******318****
Rockport0******0******0******198****
Rowley0******0******0******57******
Salisbury0******0******14******265****
Saugus0******49******38******719**
Swampscott0******0******25******121******
Topsfield0******0******0******50******
Wenham0******0******0******34******
West Newbury0******0******43******65******
Middlesex County, MA3,3854,1085,75624,819
Lake County, IL528**4,2645,0619,179
Westchester County, NY549**9,1159,8248,970
Massachusetts12,65238,65970,661174,830

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%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




INDICATORS TREND | ESSEX COUNTY