Financial Self-Sufficiency
People Receiving SNAP


People Receiving SNAP

What does this measure?

The share of people, including both adults and children, 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 performing?

In 2016, 15% of Berks County residents received SNAP benefits, slightly higher than the percentages at the state and national levels, which were roughly 13% and 14% respectively. The percentage in Berks represented a 10 point increase since 2000. The percentage increased steadily from 2000 to 2011 and then leveled out. The state had a smaller increase during the same period, rising from 6.1% in 2000 to 14% in 2011.

Among surrounding counties in 2016, smaller percentages of residents received SNAP benefits in Chester (5.0%), Lancaster (10%), Lebanon (12%) and Montgomery (6.4%). Schuylkill and Lehigh were similar to Berks. The percentage rose in all counties since 2000. While Lehigh, Lebanon, and Schuylkill had increases similar to Berks, the increases elsewhere were smaller, particularly in Chester (4 percentage points) and Montgomery (5 percentage points).

Notes about the data

Participation counts at the county level are provided primarily by the Small Area Income & Poverty Estimates program of the U.S. Census Bureau, which obtains raw data from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA. For most states, the Census Bureau uses counts of participants for the month of July, although some states can provide data only for other reference periods.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

People Receiving SNAP
20002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016
Pennsylvania6.1%6.2%6.5%7.5%8.3%8.7%9.0%9.3%10.2%12.0%13.3%14.1%13.9%14.1%14.2%14.6%14.4%
Berks County4.9%5.2%5.7%7.1%8.1%8.7%9.4%9.9%10.9%13.0%14.3%15.4%15.2%15.2%15.1%15.3%15.0%
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County1.4%1.4%1.4%1.7%2.1%2.2%2.3%2.4%2.7%3.4%3.9%4.6%4.9%5.0%5.0%5.0%5.0%
Lancaster County2.4%2.7%3.2%4.2%5.2%5.8%6.2%5.8%6.3%8.2%9.8%10.7%10.6%10.4%10.3%10.3%10.1%
Lebanon County3.3%3.3%3.9%4.7%5.6%6.4%6.6%6.8%7.8%10.0%11.6%12.5%12.7%12.7%12.4%12.6%12.4%
Lehigh County4.0%4.3%5.0%6.3%7.3%8.0%8.5%9.3%10.3%11.4%12.7%13.7%13.2%14.1%14.3%14.7%14.7%
Montgomery County1.4%1.5%1.6%1.9%2.4%2.6%2.6%2.9%3.3%4.2%4.9%5.7%6.0%6.3%6.5%6.8%6.4%
Schuylkill County4.5%4.7%4.9%5.9%6.7%7.1%7.8%8.4%9.9%12.1%14.1%15.2%15.2%14.8%15.3%15.8%16.0%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau




Number of People Receiving SNAP
20002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016
Pennsylvania751,008761,419795,450930,8511,026,1421,083,4771,121,8021,171,8581,285,0781,521,9791,686,5581,793,2801,779,4631,795,6561,815,2161,863,3591,847,222
Berks County18,14519,52621,88227,51131,75334,64237,75739,99144,30153,26458,84763,45762,75662,99962,71463,74162,428
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County5,9476,1086,4937,7829,50110,36711,08911,75913,06216,89019,42623,32824,87325,47425,47925,69525,733
Lancaster County11,44012,67915,59620,39725,68228,90631,11629,51532,32442,36250,85855,87355,83355,34555,01955,24754,230
Lebanon County3,9584,0064,8005,8457,0188,0618,5088,89210,28013,29015,47316,82717,20517,25816,96317,28817,187
Lehigh County12,42913,49215,87920,15723,65526,48728,74531,86735,51639,54544,25948,32046,81050,20151,14153,02153,342
Montgomery County10,82411,02212,14815,04718,28820,21720,55522,57425,74233,40139,50946,07548,87251,23353,08555,67452,620
Schuylkill County6,7466,9727,2478,7169,80710,43111,58812,40514,66918,01020,92222,38722,31821,74522,18622,76322,982

Source: U.S. Census Bureau




INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY