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Welfare Recipients by State 2022

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, Housing Assistance, and Medicaid. 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 employment 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 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) refers to food stamps. The number of SNAP recipients has decreased overall in most states. 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: California (3,789,000), Texas (3,406,000), Florida (2,847,000), New York (2,661,000), Illinois (1,770,000), Pennsylvania (1,757,000), Georgia (1,424,000), Ohio (1,383,000), North Carolina (1,298,000), and Michigan (1,180,000). The states with the highest percentage of SNAP recipients are New Mexico (21%), Louisiana (17%), West Virginia (17%), Alabama (15%), and Mississippi (15%). New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Rhode Island all have 14%. In Wyoming and Utah, only 5% of residents are SNAP recipients, the lowest in the U.S.

Here are the 10 states with the most welfare recipients:

  1. New Mexico (21,326 per 100k)
  2. West Virginia (17,509 per 100k)
  3. Louisiana (17,429 per 100k)
  4. Mississippi (14,874 per 100k)
  5. Alabama (14,522 per 100k)
  6. Oklahoma (14,464 per 100k)
  7. Illinois (14,211 per 100k)
  8. Rhode Island (13,890 per 100k)
  9. Pennsylvania (13,622 per 100k)
  10. Oregon (13,504 per 100k)

Welfare Recipients by State 2022

* Official program name is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Data for 2019 is preliminary and can be subject to change.
State Food Stamps Recipients (2019) Recipients Per 100K (2019) Food Stamps Recipients (2018) Recipients Per 100K (2018)
New Mexico449,79221,326454,24421,537
West Virginia307,40417,509311,86317,763
Louisiana804,56117,429838,61118,167
Mississippi440,49614,874477,16616,112
Alabama718,79214,522748,75515,127
Oklahoma579,61814,464581,70114,516
Illinois1,778,95314,2111,783,38914,247
Rhode Island147,59713,890157,94814,865
Pennsylvania1,744,31913,6221,791,56413,991
Oregon584,07713,504612,24914,155
New York2,576,09913,4012,727,46214,188
Nevada419,83212,963434,89813,429
Tennessee882,62212,606938,98613,411
Georgia1,370,77912,5341,485,06013,579
Florida2,779,31212,5322,996,30213,510
Delaware121,98712,216136,25213,644
Ohio1,380,49011,7721,400,70411,944
Arkansas350,44711,520363,18611,939
Maine156,45011,506159,32011,717
Michigan1,143,90011,4441,217,49912,181
Kentucky504,58411,245577,56512,871
Texas3,348,30011,1253,610,34011,995
Hawaii155,06111,062161,35411,511
Massachusetts764,52511,045768,37411,100
Missouri678,38810,969713,15111,531
South Carolina585,25210,955623,28311,667
Vermont67,29610,80471,17611,427
Arizona795,31310,409834,51810,922
Wisconsin606,03610,329634,56210,815
Connecticut364,65910,282376,44710,614
California4,040,64610,1873,830,6529,658
Washington802,30510,171845,78910,723
Alaska73,13010,14671,7759,958
Maryland612,75110,086637,96610,501
Iowa306,9409,669332,59510,477
Montana105,6679,667109,42010,010
South Dakota78,8548,73782,5669,148
Indiana576,1128,420599,6138,763
Nebraska157,9788,057163,9998,364
Virginia695,0048,046715,5598,284
New Jersey682,7347,697731,9838,252
Idaho142,1997,497148,7797,844
Colorado439,3907,371461,6597,745
Minnesota398,7066,946422,5737,362
Kansas198,4266,797211,0057,228
North Dakota48,2436,23350,5036,525
New Hampshire73,4165,32679,7275,784
Utah165,3744,917178,8125,317
Wyoming25,5644,39127,4484,714
North Carolina

Welfare Recipients by State 2022

Sources