By Craig Willingham, Deputy Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
43 million Americans utilize SNAP benefits and about 1.7 Million of them live in New York City. In Fiscal Year 2015, the federal government spent about $75 billion on SNAP. The impact of this program is both large in the number of people it reaches and in its purchasing power. A recent USDA study looked at the foods typically purchased by SNAP households. It found many similarities between the diets of SNAP and non-SNAP recipients but in some categories SNAP recipients spent a higher portion of their food dollars on unhealthy food than did non-SNAP recipients. As we move into the Trump era we as advocates need to be careful about what we take away from studies like this and how we can use them to our advantage.