Factors Associated With Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Among the Working Poor: Findings From 2012 American Community Survey

Teresa M. Smith, Farryl M W Bertmann, Courtney Pinard, Daniel J. Schober, Kerem Shuval, Binh T. Nguyen, Hollyanne E. Fricke, Amy L. Yaroch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The goal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is to assist food insecure households by providing federally allocated funds to increase purchasing power and ultimately achieve a more nutritious diet; however, working poor households tend to be underserved by SNAP. This study identified factors associated with SNAP participation in a nationally representative sample of the working poor (adults with household incomes ≤ 130% of the poverty level who worked 27 or more weeks during the year). Data were from the 2012 American Community Survey. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine independent factors associated with SNAP participation. Adjusting for all other factors and state of residence, those more likely to participate in SNAP included those who were women; younger; non-Hispanic black or Hispanic; separated/divorced; less educated; U.S. citizens; English-speaking; disabled; with no health insurance; on government health plan; moved within the past year; lived in household with no access to a vehicle; paid more for electricity; multigenerational; and those who had at least one child member or one or more elderly members (P <.05, for each). SNAP outreach and policy may be more effective by targeting the working poor, specifically segments of the population who are less likely to participate in SNAP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 3 2017



  • American Community Survey
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • working poor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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