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Consumer Expenditure Surveys

Consumption Symposium: Broadening Our Understanding of Household Consumption and Measurement, September 22-23, 2021

Fixing Errors in a SNAP: Addressing SNAP Under-reporting to Evaluate Poverty (PDF)

Jonathan Rothbaum - U.S. Census Bureau -

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a major piece of the social safety net. At peak participation in 2013, SNAP annual benefits exceeded $76 billion, with 47.6 million monthly participants. However, SNAP is vastly under-reported in surveys. Because SNAP is administered at the state level, nationwide administrative data is not available. We address this issue by using administrative SNAP data from eight states to impute "true" SNAP participation for the rest of the country. We validate our approach by implementing a leave-one-out imputation and evaluate how SNAP affects resources and poverty and the relationship between SNAP receipt and earnings.


Last Modified Date: November 10, 2021