New Census figures released this week show that Nutrition Assistance Programs lifted millions of people including working poor, seniors, disabled and children out of poverty in 2017. These Census figures use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which accounts for non-cash benefits and presents a complete picture of the impact of anti-poverty programs than the official poverty measure, which counts only cash income.

The nutrition assistance programs listed below had the following effect on poverty in 2017:
• The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) lifted 3.4 million people, including 1.5 million children out of poverty,
• The National School Lunch Program lifted 1.2 million children out of poverty, and
• The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infant and Children (WIC) lifted 279,000 pregnant women and their young children out of poverty.

These numbers likely understate the positive impacts of these programs, as researchers have found that some respondents are reluctant to tell surveyors that they are receiving SNAP or other nutrition assistance programs.

One important step that Congress can take now is to pass a Farm Bill that protects and strengthens SNAP by rejecting the House’s harmful changes to SNAP and instead adopt the Senate’s strong bipartisan SNAP provisions.

For more information see these resources:

FRAC Press Release: Millions of American’s continue to Struggle Against Poverty Protecting and Strengthening SNAP is an Essential Response:

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – Census: Programs Eyed for Cuts Keep Millions from Poverty