DENVER – Oftentimes, the issue of hunger is associated with people in inner cities, where the cost of living tends to be high.
But a new study shows some of the greatest need can be found where America’s food supply is grown and raised.
Jon Bailey, director of rural public policy program for the Center for Rural Affairs, authored the report, which examines the use of food stamps, now called SNAP benefits, from 2008 to 2012.
“And what we found is that during that time period, more households in rural areas received SNAP benefits than did households in more urban areas,” he says.
In that five-year period, the report says more than 14 percent of rural households received benefits, compared to slightly less than 11 percent of urban households.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, last year the average monthly participation in SNAP was about a half-million people in Colorado.
Another key finding is that rural areas and small cities have higher percentages of households with seniors and children receiving food support.
“SNAP is providing a way for those people and those households to meet their food needs, which is important,” he points out, “because those two population groups are probably most at risk of hunger and food insecurity.”
In rural areas, 1 in 9 households has a SNAP recipient who is either younger than 18, or 60 or older.
In Colorado, the average SNAP benefit per household is just over $137 a month.