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SNAP Meal Gap (2020)

This dataset describes the average cost per moderately priced meal, the maximum total Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (before and after the 15 percent increase in 2020), and the gap between meal cost and benefits for all US counties. It is constructed using the US Census Bureau’s 2018 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates of SNAP participation by county; Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap data, including NielsenIQ county-level food price data, adjusted for state and local taxes and US Office of Management and Budget geographic classifications; and 2020 US Department of Agriculture maximum benefit allotments. The dataset was used in the brief, “How Far Did SNAP Benefits Fall Short of Covering the Cost of a Meal in 2020?”

Data and Resources

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Release Date
Contact Name
Urban Institute
Contact Email
Public Access Level
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Data Dictionary Files
Project Code
Related Documents
Geographic Level
Units of Observation
Urban Publications
Citation Requirements

Urban Institute. 2021. SNAP Meal Gap (2020). Accessible from Data originally sourced from 2018 Census Bureau SAIPE estimates, Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap data, and 2020 USDA maximum benefit allotments, developed at the Urban Institute, and made available under the ODC-BY 1.0 Attribution License.