STARKVILLE — The myth that a single type of person uses food stamps was examined in a recent Southern Rural Development Center study that impacts how to best reach those in need of food assistance.
The report, “One-size doesn’t fit all: Different reasons drive food stamp use in areas across the South,” looks at certain characteristics of food stamp users in the Borderland in Texas, the Appalachia region in West Virginia, the Delta in Mississippi and Louisiana and the Black Belt in Alabama.
The SRDC is housed at Mississippi State University. This research was performed by Tim Slack and Candice Myers of Louisiana State University. They looked at the extent to which regional and local conditions uniquely affect SNAP use.
The study found that there is not a single set of demographics that defines a person as a typical user of what has formerly been known as food stamps and is now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The Appalachia region reports the highest percentage of SNAP use, at nearly 22 percent. In this region, the majority of recipients are white female heads of households.
In the Borderland, higher numbers of single-mother households and nonworking-age populations are enrolled in SNAP.
In the Delta, greater numbers of children and elderly take part in SNAP. Also in the Delta, fewer adults without a high school diploma are a part of SNAP compared to other areas of the country.
In the Black Belt, SNAP use is linked most often to nonworking-age individuals and those living in racially segregated areas than in other parts of the country.
“This type of study helps fine-tune the delivery of food assistance programs to key areas of the South that are in greatest need of these types of programs,” Beaulieu said.