In fiscal year 2012, an average of 46.6 million people per month participated in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provided benefits averaging $133 per person per month to purchase food items in authorized food stores. Federal spending for the program totaled $78.3 billion in 2012, a 3-percent increase from 2011. The number of people receiving SNAP benefits is the smallest percentage increase (4 percent) since 2007. Historically, changes in U.S. economic conditions significantly affected participation in SNAP, with participation rising during economic downturns and falling during periods of economic growth. While the unemployment rate averaged 8.1 percent in 2012, down from 8.9 percent in 2011, the need for food and nutrition assistance continued. This chart appears in The Food Assistance Landscape, FY 2012 Annual Report released March 15, 2013.
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