Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Report Shows High SNAP Enrollment in Rural, Small-Town New Mexico

Map via Food Research and Action Center
A new study released by the Food Research and Action Center on August 2 shows rural and small town households across the country are more likely to participate in SNAP than their metro-area counterparts. The rate is slightly higher in New Mexico than the national average, the same study indicates.

FRAC’s study features a SNAP Map, an interactive data tool that provides county-by-county and state-by-state participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by type of area--rural, small town, and metro. Each county is grouped into one of three census categories: Metro, Small Town (micropolitan), and Rural. And most counties had elements of each of the three categories. Read the meta-analysis.

Illustration via FRAC
New Mexico
In New Mexico, SNAP reaches 200,000 households with 443,000 individuals in an average month (FY 2015), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). SNAP helps more than 1 in 6 rural and small town households, and 1 in 7 households in metro areas in our state afford healthy, nutritious meals.

SNAP participation was 15% in metro areas and 18% each in rural communities and small towns. This compares with nationwide rates of 13% for metro areas, 16% for rural communities and 15% for small towns.  See  fact sheet for the state. Here is the national county-by-county map. The map allows users to zero-in on specific states and counties.

Most counties in our state are classified in the "small town" category, with a handful falling in the rural category and a few clusters of counties grouped around the Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Farmington-Bloomington metropolitan areas. The rate of SNAP enrollment in rural and small-town New Mexico appears higher in the western and southern areas of the state than in the east, particularly the southeast.

Truchas, New Mexico (Mary Singleton)
Rural: Nationwide, nearly one-quarter (298, or 23 percent) of rural counties had at least 20 percent of households participating in SNAP. Of these, 53 counties (four percent) had at least 30 percent participating in SNAP. Catron County (Reserve, Quemado) had a whopping 71 percent of households participating in SNAP. Others included Hidalgo Country (Lordsburg) at 23.9 pecent, Socorro County (Socorro) at 23 percent, Mora County (Mora) at 21 percent, Guadalupe County (Santa Rosa) at 20.2 percent, Sierra County (Truth or Consequences) at 20.1 percent. Quay County (Tucumcari) recorded a 17.5 percent rate of participation, while the rate was 7.9 percent in Harding County (Roy, Mosquero) and 15.1 percent in Union County (Clayton).

Gallup (Richie Diesterheft, Wikimedia Commons)
Small Towns: One county in the "small town" category, Luna County (Deming), came closest to the 30-percent threshold at 29.4 percent. Other small towns with high participation include McKinley County (Gallup) at 25.4 percent, Cibola County (Grants) at 24 percent and San Miguel County (Las Vegas) at 23.9 percent. Grant County (Silver City) reported a rate of 20%. Taos County (Taos) recorded a rate of 18.6 percent. In contrast,participation was lower in Lea County (Hobbs) at 12.7% and Eddy County (Carlsbad) at 12.6 percent. Another eastern "small town," Roosevelt County (Portales), had  a rate of 17.6 percent participation.

Santa Fe Farmers Market
Metropolitan Areas: Nationwide, 11 percent of all metro counties had a participation level of 20 percent or higher. In New Mexico, Torrance County (Albuquerque), at 21%, Valencia County (Albuquerque) at 20.1% and Doña Ana County (Las Cruces), at 20.5%, fell in that category. Bernalillo County (Albuquerque) recorded a 15.2 percent participation in SNAP, while the rate was 10.1 percent in Santa Fe County (Santa Fe).

Note: SNAP Maps is based on American Community Survey (ACS) five-year data (2011–2015) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2015.

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