A key aspect of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the extent to which it reaches its target population—the rate of participation among people who are eligible for SNAP benefits (eli - gibles). FNS publishes national and State-level estimates of participation among eligibles for an average month of the year. This report demonstrates the feasibility and usefulness of estimating an annual SNAP participation rate, which counts the number of individuals who participated at some time during the year as a share of individuals who were eligible at some time during the year. An annual SNAP participation rate matches the annual timeframe that several Federal surveys adopt when collecting data on SNAP participation. It also captures how well the pro - gram reaches all people who are eligible for it at any time during the year, independent of the number of months they were eligible. The monthly rate tends to capture those who have rela - tively more months of eligibility during the year. Results show that the national annual SNAP participation rate among eligibles for 2012 (the most recent year with suitable data) is about 70.7 percent—more than 10 percentage points below the monthly participation rate of 83.1 percent.


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