Welfare Recipients By State 2019

Welfare is a type of government support for the citizens of that society to meet their basic human needs such as food and shelter. Welfare programs typically provide either a free or subsidized supply of certain goods and services such as healthcare and education.

The United States has six major welfare programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Housing Assistance. These six welfare programs are not to be confused with the four entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation.

Welfare recipients in the United States must prove their income falls below a certain target based on the federal poverty level in order to qualify. In April 2018, President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to review work requirements for TANF, Medicaid, SNAP, and housing assistance. Childless SNAP recipients who do not have disabilities, for example, must find a job within three months or lose their benefits.

The number of SNAP recipients has decreased overall in most states, as can be seen in the table below. The number of recipients grew during 2007-2011 due to the recession and has seen a steady decline since, most likely because of an improving economy and the imposed three-month limit.

The ten states that have the highest number of SNAP recipients are:

  1. California (3,636,314)
  2. Texas (3,291,843)
  3. Florida (2,779,400)
  4. New York (2,642,450)
  5. Illinois (1,780,778)
  6. Pennsylvania (1,741,489)
  7. Ohio (1,378,556)
  8. Georgia (1,348,973)
  9. Michigan (1,167,928)
  10. Tennessee (891,135)

Below is a table of each state’s number of SNAP recipients for 2018 and 2019.

* Official program name is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Data for 2019 is preliminary and can be a subject for change.
State Food Stamps Recipients in May 2019 Food Stamps Recipients in May 2018 2019 Pop.
Wyoming25,78929,094572,381
North Dakota48,09552,718760,900
Vermont68,25772,087627,180
New Hampshire75,41186,0491,363,852
South Dakota80,96786,607892,631
Alaska86,83689,731735,720
District of Columbia106,340112,091711,571
Montana106,957114,5331,074,532
Delaware127,545137,820975,033
Idaho145,542156,9331,790,182
Hawaii154,618162,0061,416,589
Maine156,166165,8111,342,097
Nebraska159,963168,4201,940,919
Utah170,880186,9383,221,610
Kansas195,859213,1632,910,931
West Virginia302,274317,8091,791,951
Iowa315,622340,6383,167,997
Arkansas344,512363,1433,026,412
Connecticut364,456379,3513,567,871
Minnesota405,773420,0615,655,925
Nevada418,308438,0553,087,025
Mississippi444,005498,4902,987,895
New Mexico444,815453,0022,096,034
Colorado446,093442,7875,770,545
Kentucky529,143596,5644,484,047
Indiana555,921606,2326,718,616
Oklahoma566,892576,8833,948,950
South Carolina590,201643,1195,147,111
Oregon595,284625,8614,245,901
Wisconsin611,038641,5785,832,661
Maryland611,598637,1296,062,917
Missouri682,794728,8536,147,861
New Jersey695,525753,6298,922,547
Virginia700,353730,5938,571,946
Alabama716,989756,8614,898,246
Massachusetts748,402768,2816,939,373
Arizona773,157822,8357,275,070
Louisiana795,810860,3524,652,581
Washington815,496870,7327,666,343
Tennessee891,135943,8286,833,793
Michigan1,167,9281,267,93110,020,472
Georgia1,348,9731,544,05410,627,767
Ohio1,378,5561,417,85711,718,568
Pennsylvania1,741,4891,814,91012,813,969
Illinois1,780,7781,870,39712,700,381
New York2,642,4502,787,44719,491,339
Florida2,779,4003,042,30321,646,155
Texas3,291,8433,610,34829,087,070
California3,636,3143,922,36639,747,267