Performance Measure
Measure Name
Percentage of the eligible population enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)(SNAP Participation Rate)
Measure Last Modified
Jun 24 2016 07:08
Measure Last Published
Apr 21 2017 02:27
Measure Status
Data Source and Calculation

The SNAP participation rate is the number of people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) divided by the number of people eligible by income to participate (in Virginia and in most states, this would mean having an income up to 130% of the poverty threshold). The calculation is performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) (USDA is the federal funding source for SNAP). The numerator is based on monthly SNAP client data submitted by states to FNS; the denominator comes from population surveys that estimate the number of people living in households with annual income below a specified income-to-poverty ratio. Note: The denominator is a weighted estimate with a degree of uncertainty. The rate is usually expressed as a percentage with a 90% confidence interval (the range within which the true population may lie).

FNS uses a shrinkage estimation method rather than the direct estimation method to improve precision, especially when state sample sizes are small. Using data drawn from various sources (i.e., Current Population Survey, American Community Survey, state SNAP administrative records), the shrinkage estimator averages direct sample estimates of participation rates with predictions from a regression model. To further improve precision, the shrinkage estimator uses three years of data for all states, for both groups (all eligible individuals and the working poor) to derive each state estimate.

There are two data limitations: 1) The Census Bureau provides only estimates of the number of individuals who have an income up to 125% of the poverty threshold, not 130% as the SNAP program requires; 2) Because the CPS/ACS data releases occur approximately 12 months after the end of the reporting period, FNS delays releasing its own rate calculations. For example, the latest SNAP participation rate estimates, made available to states in December 2014, are for CY 2011. The 2012 rates are likely to come out later in 2015.

Enterprise Priorities and Strategies
Enterprise InitiativeEnterprise PriorityEnterprise Strategy
Health and FamilyNutritional DividePromotes strategies to improve nutritious options for Virginians in at-risk circumstances.
Associated Service Areas
SA CodeSA Name
45213Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAPET) Services
46010Local Staff and Operations
Measure ID765.0004
Measure ClassAgency Key
Measure TypeOutput
Year TypeCalendar
Preferred TrendIncrease
Statistical Unitpercent eligible people getting SNAP
Baseline and Targets
Target NameDateResultNote
Baseline12/31/20117979 percent of the income-eligible population were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as of CY 2011.
Short Target 201806/30/201880The program anticipates a decrease in enrollees as employment rates improve.
Long Target 202006/30/202080
Measure Results
YearResultExplanatory Note
201384.00State result obtained in February 2016.
201483.00State result obtained in February 2017.
2015Not available at this time. State estimates are calculated by the USDA and the 2015 rates will be released in early 2018.
2016Not available at this time.
- Run Date: 04/29/2017 11:14:40