Financial Security
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity

Decreasing


Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2017-21

What does this measure?

The proportion of households broken out by race and ethnicity that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps).

Why is this important?

The SNAP program provides government funding for low-income people to buy food. It therefore indicates how many people in a region cannot support themselves at a basic level. Differences among racial and ethnic groups may reflect the economic health of these groups, as well as potential disparities in access to economic opportunity.

How does our county compare?

In 2017-21, Lancaster County demonstrated disparities in the race and ethnicity of residents receiving SNAP benefits. While 27% of African American residents and 29% of Hispanic residents utilized SNAP benefits, only 6% of white residents and 8% of Asians received SNAP. These levels are slightly below state levels, but above national levels, except for whites (9% nationally, vs. 6% in Lancaster County).

The City of Lancaster had higher rates for every group during this period: 36% of African Americans, 39% of Hispanics and 19% of Asians and whites received SNAP benefits.

Among surrounding counties over the same period, Chester and Cumberland had lower SNAP utilization rates than Lancaster for most groups, while Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon and York generally had higher rates.

Why do these disparities exist?

Research connects lower incomes and higher poverty rates among people of color to historic and current policies and practices that disadvantaged people of color. These policies and systems, ranging from inequitable access to housing to employment discrimination to education systems that fail to equitably serve all populations, have prevented people of color from fully participating in our economy, locking them out of economic opportunity. This has increased the need for some groups to access programs to support basic needs such as SNAP.

Notes about the data

The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.

Studies have found that national survey estimates (including the ACS) of enrollment in public benefit programs tend to underestimate the true rate due to underreporting by participants, when compared with state-level administrative data. Underreporting can occur for a variety of reasons, including the social stigma of program participation and participants' confusion about the source of the services they receive. For these reasons, the estimates reported above should be considered a lower bound of the true estimate.

The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.

Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2017-21
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Pennsylvania11%33%32%10%
Lancaster County8%***27%29%6%
Lancaster City19%***36%*39%19%
Lancaster County Boroughs
Adamstown borough0%***39%***0%***2%***
Akron borough0%***N/A***14%***7%***
Christiana boroughN/A***0%***N/A***8%***
Columbia borough0%***36%***47%***21%
Denver township0%***0%***66%***6%***
East Petersburg borough0%***0%***0%***3%***
Elizabethtown borough0%***16%***24%***9%**
Ephrata borough0%***73%***20%***11%*
Lititz borough0%***N/A***16%***5%***
Manheim boroughN/A***N/A***0%***11%***
Marietta boroughN/A***56%***73%***9%***
Millersville borough0%***16%***8%***12%**
Mount Joy boroughN/A***57%***69%***4%***
Mountville borough0%***0%***0%***3%***
New Holland borough0%***0%***60%***8%***
Quarryville borough0%***100%***41%***12%***
Strasburg boroughN/A***N/A***69%***10%***
Terre Hill boroughN/A***N/A***0%***2%***
Lancaster County Townships
Bart townshipN/A***N/A***0%***2%***
Brecknock townshipN/A***N/A***N/A***2%***
Caernarvon township0%***N/A***N/A***3%***
Clay townshipN/A***N/A***28%***5%***
Colerain townshipN/A***0%***N/A***3%***
Conestoga township0%***0%***0%***5%***
Conoy townshipN/A***N/A***35%***5%***
Drumore townshipN/A***N/A***N/A***6%***
Earl township0%***N/A***0%***5%***
East Cocalico township0%***100%***0%***6%***
East Donegal townshipN/A***61%***55%***3%***
East Drumore township0%***0%***0%***3%***
East Earl township0%***0%***N/A***2%***
East Hempfield township3%***13%***11%***3%**
East Lampeter township6%***32%***18%***7%**
Eden townshipN/A***N/A***N/A***1%***
Elizabeth township0%***N/A***100%***3%***
Ephrata township0%***0%***0%***3%***
Fulton townshipN/A***0%***50%***18%***
Lancaster township4%***18%***29%**8%**
Leacock townshipN/A***0%***N/A***1%***
Little Britain townshipN/A***0%***N/A***1%***
Manheim township7%***15%***7%***2%**
Manor township34%***7%***20%***7%*
Martic townshipN/A***N/A***0%***2%***
Mount Joy township0%***0%***0%***2%***
Paradise townshipN/A***0%***5%***12%**
Penn township0%***N/A***0%***3%***
Pequea township0%***0%***57%***10%**
Providence township0%***N/A***0%***10%***
Rapho township0%***0%***0%***4%**
Sadsbury townshipN/A***0%***0%***7%***
Salisbury township0%***36%***0%***3%***
Strasburg townshipN/A***N/A***N/A***4%***
Upper Leacock township4%***0%***23%***5%***
Warwick township33%***32%***20%***4%**
West Cocalico townshipN/A***0%***33%***6%***
West Donegal townshipN/A***0%***0%***0%***
West Earl township0%***N/A***0%***3%***
West Hempfield township23%***23%***34%***6%**
West Lampeter township0%***6%***0%***1%***
Berks County14%**32%41%10%
Chester County2%***22%14%*4%
Cumberland County4%**21%**27%*6%
Dauphin County10%*23%30%7%
Lebanon County15%***26%**38%9%
York County10%***28%34%9%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2017-21
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Pennsylvania16,337172,22195,569423,851
Lancaster County365***1,9255,21211,506
Lancaster City124***1,038*2,9092,489
Lancaster County Boroughs
Adamstown borough0***16***0***18***
Akron borough0***0***15***113***
Christiana borough0***0***0***27***
Columbia borough0***113***327***797
Denver township0***0***40***80***
East Petersburg borough0***0***0***42***
Elizabethtown borough0***24***41***395**
Ephrata borough0***65***104***585*
Lititz borough0***0***20***180***
Manheim borough0***0***0***190***
Marietta borough0***32***27***86***
Millersville borough0***25***13***248**
Mount Joy borough0***85***132***127***
Mountville borough0***0***0***41***
New Holland borough0***0***53***156***
Quarryville borough0***23***31***116***
Strasburg borough0***0***57***116***
Terre Hill borough0***0***0***8***
Lancaster County Townships
Bart township0***0***0***14***
Brecknock township0***0***0***47***
Caernarvon township0***0***0***45***
Clay township0***0***18***117***
Colerain township0***0***0***34***
Conestoga township0***0***0***77***
Conoy township0***0***34***64***
Drumore township0***0***0***46***
Earl township0***0***0***130***
East Cocalico township0***17***0***203***
East Donegal township0***38***38***106***
East Drumore township0***0***0***40***
East Earl township0***0***0***44***
East Hempfield township14***41***92***332**
East Lampeter township19***155***170***344**
Eden township0***0***0***9***
Elizabeth township0***0***13***40***
Ephrata township0***0***0***114***
Fulton township0***0***21***140***
Lancaster township14***99***483**418**
Leacock township0***0***0***17***
Little Britain township0***0***0***9***
Manheim township53***49***106***353**
Manor township66***18***134***554*
Martic township0***0***0***44***
Mount Joy township0***0***0***70***
Paradise township0***0***6***193**
Penn township0***0***0***135***
Pequea township0***0***108***206**
Providence township0***0***0***240***
Rapho township0***0***0***199**
Sadsbury township0***0***0***66***
Salisbury township0***20***0***106***
Strasburg township0***0***0***52***
Upper Leacock township5***0***46***118***
Warwick township40***23***43***296**
West Cocalico township0***0***13***145***
West Donegal township0***0***0***0***
West Earl township0***0***0***84***
West Hempfield township30***34***118***359**
West Lampeter township0***10***0***82***
Berks County298**2,17611,03412,922
Chester County226***2,1541,560*6,205
Cumberland County166**558**823*5,386
Dauphin County445*4,5382,6105,632
Lebanon County74***290**2,1924,574
York County204***2,5383,56613,694

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




INDICATORS TREND
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Per-Student Spending Maintaining
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Rate of Foster Care Admissions Maintaining
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Enrollment in Local Colleges Decreasing
College Graduation Rates Decreasing
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Age of Housing Stock Not Applicable
Violent Crime Rate Maintaining
Incarceration Rate Decreasing
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Population Density Increasing
Air Quality Decreasing
Water Use Decreasing
Waterways Impaired by Pollution Not Applicable
Change in Population Increasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Population by Age Not Applicable
Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Change in Total Jobs Increasing
Change in Employment by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Workers by Occupation Not Applicable
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Since 2000 Increasing
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Employer Size Not Applicable
Change in Number of Businesses by Sector Increasing
Change in Total Agricultural Sales Increasing
Spending for Local Government Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty Maintaining
Children in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Veterans Living in Poverty Maintaining
Working Poor Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
Median Home Value Maintaining
Occupied Housing Units Maintaining
Homeownership Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Rent Maintaining
Cost of Renting Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing
Means of Transportation to Work, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Without Health Insurance Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Health Status Decreasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Mortality Rates Decreasing
Mortality Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Fatal Drug Overdoses Increasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Increasing
STEM Graduates Maintaining
Science and Engineering Research and Development Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable


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