Welfare Recipients By State 2020

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 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.

Welfare Recipients By State 2020

* 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 Mexico449,79221,459454,24421,678
Louisiana804,56117,293838,61117,996
West Virginia307,40417,155311,86317,270
Mississippi440,49614,743477,16615,977
Oklahoma579,61814,678581,70114,752
Alabama718,79214,674748,75515,319
Illinois1,778,95314,0071,783,38913,997
Rhode Island147,59713,967157,94814,939
Oregon584,07713,756612,24914,610
Pennsylvania1,744,31913,6131,791,56413,989
Nevada419,83213,600434,89814,332
New York2,576,09913,2172,727,46213,957
Tennessee882,62212,916938,98613,870
Georgia1,370,77912,8981,485,06014,117
Florida2,779,31212,8402,996,30214,068
Delaware121,98712,511136,25214,088
Ohio1,380,49011,7801,400,70411,983
Maine156,45011,657159,32011,904
Arkansas350,44711,580363,18612,051
Texas3,348,30011,5113,610,34012,579
Michigan1,143,90011,4161,217,49912,180
South Carolina585,25211,370623,28312,259
Kentucky504,58411,253577,56512,926
Missouri678,38811,035713,15111,641
Massachusetts764,52511,017768,37411,132
Hawaii155,06110,946161,35411,359
Arizona795,31310,932834,51811,636
Vermont67,29610,73071,17611,365
Washington802,30510,465845,78911,224
Wisconsin606,03610,390634,56210,915
Connecticut364,65910,221376,44710,537
California4,040,64610,1663,830,6529,684
Maryland612,75110,107637,96610,558
Alaska73,1309,94071,7759,733
Montana105,6679,834109,42010,300
Iowa306,9409,689332,59510,538
South Dakota78,8548,83482,5669,359
Indiana576,1128,575599,6138,960
Nebraska157,9788,139163,9998,501
Virginia695,0048,108715,5598,401
Idaho142,1997,943148,7798,481
New Jersey682,7347,652731,9838,217
Colorado439,3907,614461,6598,106
Minnesota398,7067,049422,5737,531
Kansas198,4266,817211,0057,247
North Dakota48,2436,34050,5036,644
New Hampshire73,4165,38379,7275,878
Utah165,3745,133178,8125,657
Wyoming25,5644,46627,4484,751