High impact research: how food assistance programs help food security

In this international collaboration, Melbourne Institute researchers helped the US Department of Agriculture assess the success of its food assistance program.

The Effect of SNAP on Assessments of Food Needs and Food Security

This cooperative agreement project between the Melbourne Institute and the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the US Department of Agriculture examined whether the receipt of food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) altered households' assessments of their food needs and food security.

Using data on reported food hardships, food expenditures, household-reported food needs, and food assistance from the US Current Population Survey Food Security Supplements, this research project resulted in the preparation of an internal report for the ERS.


This project contributed to the ongoing research agenda of both the Melbourne Institute and the ERS regarding the ways that food assistance programs impact diet, health, and food hardship among other outcomes of beneficiaries.

ERS has an abiding interest in the effects - anticipated and not - of federal food assistance programs on the diet, health, and wellbeing of American families, especially those that might affect their assessment of food hardship, a principal target of SNAP.

Collaborative Partners

Chief investigator

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