Heather an Mom Eating Lunch

Five Facts: How SNAP Helps Kids

When it comes to feeding hungry kids, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the most powerful tools we have. SNAP is critical for helping children grow up healthier, smarter, stronger and more likely to break the cycle of poverty.

1 in 7 kids in the United States face hunger, and 20 million of those children rely on the food they get from SNAP. The program is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and provides families with an electronic card they can use to buy food at grocery stores.

Here are five facts about how SNAP impacts a child’s future:

  • Kids Need SNAP: When we talk about the number of people who participate in SNAP, we’re talking about a lot of kids. In fact, nearly half (43.5 percent) of all people who participate in the SNAP program are children. [USDA]
  • SNAP Helps Vulnerable Families: Nearly 9 out of 10 households that rely on SNAP contain either a child under age 18, an senior over 60 years old, or an individual with disabilities. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]
  • SNAP Can End Poverty: Adding SNAP benefits to a family’s budget can mean the difference between living in poverty or not. In 2015, for example, SNAP kept about 3.8 million children out of poverty. And most of these are working families - nearly 90% of households with children either have worked or will work in the year they receive SNAP benefits. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]
  • SNAP Affects a Child’s Education: Research found that kids from low-income families who had early access to SNAP benefits were 18% more likely to graduate from high school than those who didn’t. [Bureau of Economic Advisors]
  • SNAP Affects a Child’s Health: When kids in need have access to SNAP, they have a lower risk of anemia, lower levels of obesity, fewer doctor visits and fewer hospitalizations. And when pregnant moms have access to SNAP, it reduces the likelihood of low birth weight by 23%. (Low birth weight is linked to infant mortality, cognitive development and chronic disease later in life.) [Bureau of Economic Advisors]

The food provided by SNAP does much more than fill a child’s empty stomach; it helps that child grow up smarter, stronger, and healthier, and that means a smarter, stronger, healthier nation.

As part of our mission to make sure that every child in the United States has the food they need, No Kid Hungry works to protect SNAP for the kids who rely on it. Learn more about our work and how you can speak up for kids.