SNAP spending and participation reached record levels in 2011Nearly 45 million recipients, one out of every seven U.S. residents, received SNAP benefits in an average month in fiscal year 2011. Total federal spending for the program was $78 billion.
Spending on SNAP benefits grew by about 135 percent between 2007 and 2011Spending growth was driven by increases in the number of people receiving benefits and by increases in benefit amounts per person.
- About 65 percent of growth came from an increase in the number of people receiving benefits. That increase was driven primarily by the weak economy.
- About 20 percent of growth can be attributed to temporarily higher benefit amounts. That increase was legislated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
- The final 15 percent of growth stems from other factors, such as higher food prices and lower income among beneficiaries, both of which boosted benefits.