The Bulletin Board

New Hampshire last among neighbors in SNAP enrollment, new analysis finds

By: - February 21, 2022 12:37 pm
A person holds a piece of fruit

The federal government boosted SNAP benefits by 21 percent in 2021. (Justin Sullivan | Getty Images)

This story was updated on Feb. 23, 2022 at 10:14 a.m. to clarify that analysis by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute addresses potential eligibility for SNAP programs. 

Uptake of SNAP programs in New Hampshire lags behind neighboring states, according to a new analysis estimating that only 30 percent of potentially-eligible Granite Staters are using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The analysis, completed by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, looked at the percentage of residents living in and near poverty in the state who are enrolled in SNAP, which is funded by the federal government.

In Maine, 40 percent of potentially-eligible residents used the program, while in Vermont and Massachusetts the percentage was even higher, at 45 percent and 54 percent, respectively.

The federal government revised the program during the pandemic, boosting benefits by 21 percent in 2021. Neighboring states may have seen greater enrollment in the programs because of outreach plans and expanding eligibility, according to the analysis. Under-enrollment in New Hampshire could leave families and individuals struggling with food insecurity, while turning away federal funding that could boost the local economy.

A dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.61 in economic output, according to Moody’s Analytics. 

A chart about SNAP programs
(Source: New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute)

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.