Disparities in Access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Retailers Over Time and Space
The largest public assistance program in the United States, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), relies on private retailers for program access. We analyze geo-coded SNAP-authorized convenience and grocery stores in 2000 and 2010 to determine factors associated with their accessibility. Results demonstrate that accessibility was higher in areas with high rates of SNAP income-eligible individuals, but that some spatial disparity persists, particularly in areas with lower initial access and rural areas. Findings highlight the importance of SNAP-authorized convenience stores if markets continue to determine the location of SNAP access points.
KeywordsSNAP Food access Spatial analysis Grocery stores Convenience stores Disparity
JEL ClassificationI30 I38 L11 L20
The authors thank Neal Hooker for helping to shape the analysis and Trevor Brown for reviewing an earlier draft. We thank Morton O’Kelly for his assistance in collecting the census data. We thank David Norris and Jason Reece for assistance in geo-coding. Part of the geocoding was conducted using Texas A&M’s Geocoder. Finally, we thank the USDA FNS for making data available for this study and responding to our inquiries about its use. The findings and conclusions in this preliminary publication have not been formally disseminated by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.
- Almaguer Sandoval, B. & Aquilante, J. (2014). Healthy Corner Store Initiative: Overview. Retrieved from Philadelphia: http://thefoodtrust.org/uploads/media_items/healthy-corner-store-overview.original.pdf.
- Beatty, T., & Tuttle, C. (2014). Expenditure ressponse to increases in in-kind transfers: Evidence from the supplemental nutrition assistance program. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 97(2), 390–404.Google Scholar
- Bitler, M., & Haider, S. (2011). An economic view of food deserts in the United States. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 30(1), 153–176.Google Scholar
- Black, C., Moon, G., & Baird, J. (2014). Dietary inequalities: What is the evidence for the effect of the neighbourhood food environment? Health & Place, 27, 229–242.Google Scholar
- Caspi, C., Sorensen, G., Subramanian, S., & Kawachi, I. (2012). The local food environment and diet: A systematic review. Health & Place, 18(5), 1172–1187.Google Scholar
- Castner, L., & Henke, J. (2011). Benefit Redemption Patterns in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. USDA Nutrtion Assistance Program Report. Prepared by Mathematica Policy Research for USDA Food and Nutrition Service.Google Scholar
- Chen, Z., Yen, S., & Eastwood, D. (2005). Effects of food stamp participation on body weight and obesity. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 87(5), 1167–1173.Google Scholar
- Cho, C., & Volpe, R. (2017). Independent grocery stores in the changing landscape of the U.S. food retail industry. USDA Economic Research Repot, 240. Google Scholar
- Chrisinger, B. (2015). Reconsidering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as Community Development. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 47(3), 273–277.Google Scholar
- Christaller, W. & Baskin, C. (1966). Central Places in Southern Germany. Translated by Carlisle W. Baskin: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Clary, C., Matthews, S., & Kestens, Y. (2017). Between exposure, access and use: Reconsidering foodscape influences on dietary behaviours. Health & Place, 44, 1–7.Google Scholar
- Coleman-Jensen, A., Rabbitt, M., Gregory, C., & Singh, A. (2015). Household Food Security in the United States in 2014. USDA Economic Research Report. Google Scholar
- Courtemanche, C., & Carden, A. (2011). Supersizing supercenters? The impact of Walmart Supercenters on BMI and obesity. Journal of Urban Economics, 69(2), 165–181.Google Scholar
- Dharmasena, S., Bessler, D., & Capps, O. (2016). Food environment in the United States as a complex economic system. Food Policy, 61, 163–175.Google Scholar
- D’Rozario, D., & Williams, J. (2005). Retail redlining: Definition, theory, typology, and measurement. Journal of Macromarketing, 25(2), 175–186.Google Scholar
- Eslami, E., & Cunnyngham, K. (2014). Supplemental nutrition assistance program participation rates: Fiscal years 2010 and 2011. USDA Nutrition Assistance Program Report. Prepared by Mathematic for USDA Food and Nutrtion Service.Google Scholar
- Fitzpatrick, K., Greenhalgh-Stanley, N., & Ver Ploeg, M. (2015). The impact of food deserts on food insufficiency and SNAP participation among the elderly. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 98(1), 19–40.Google Scholar
- Freedman, D., & Bell, B. (2009). Access to healthful foods among an urban food insecure population: Perceptions versus reality. Journal of Urban Health, 86(6), 825–838.Google Scholar
- GeoLytics, I. (2011). Summary File 1 2010 in 2000 Boundaries Version 1.0.Google Scholar
- Harris, M., Kaufman, P., Martinez, S., & Price, C. (2002). The US food marketing system, 2002: Competition, coordination, and technological innovations into 21st century. USDA, Agricultural Economic Report No. 811 (pp. 21-33).Google Scholar
- Kneebone, E. (2014). The growth and spread of concentrated poverty, 2000 to 2008–2012. The Brookings Report.Google Scholar
- Kwate, N., Loh, J., White, K., & Saldana, N. (2013). Retail redlining in New York City: Racialized access to day-to-day retail resources. Journal of Urban Health, 90(4), 632–652.Google Scholar
- Kyureghian, G., Nayga, R., & Bhattacharya, S. (2013). The Effect of food store access and income on household purchases of fruits and vegetables: a mixed effects analysis. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 35(1), 69–88.Google Scholar
- Larson, N., Story, M., & Nelson, M. (2009). Neighborhood environments: Disparities in access to healthy foods in the US. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(1), 74–81.Google Scholar
- Laurison, H. (2014). Providing fresh produce in small food stores. Retrieved from Oakland, CA: http://www.changelabsolutions.org/sites/default/files/Fresh-Produce-Distribution-Small-Food-Stores_FINAL_20140131.pdf.
- Lentz, E., & Barrett, C. (2013). The economics and nutritional impacts of food assistance policies and programs. Food Policy, 42, 151–163.Google Scholar
- Lösch, A. (1954). The economics of location. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Mabli, J. (2014). SNAP Participation, food security, and geographic access to food. USDA Nutrition Assistance Program Report. Prepared by Mathematica Policy Research for USDA Food and Nutrition Service.Google Scholar
- Mabli, J., Ohls, J., Dragoset, L., Castner, L., & Santos, B. (2013) Measuring the effect of supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) Participation on Food Security. USDA Nutrition Assistance Program Report. Prepared by Mathematica Policy Research for USDA Food and Nutrition Service.Google Scholar
- Macintyre, S., Macdonald, L., & Ellaway, A. (2008). Do poorer people have poorer access to local resources and facilities? The distribution of local resources by area deprivation in Glasgow, Scotland. Social Science and Medicine, 67(6), 900–914.Google Scholar
- Martinez, S. (2007) The US food marketing system: Recent developments. USDA Economic Research Report, 42.Google Scholar
- Meltzer, R., & Schuetz, J. (2012). Bodegas or bagel shops? Neighborhood differences in retail and household services. Economic Development Quarterly, 26(1), 73–94.Google Scholar
- Nguyen, B., Shuval, K., Bertmann, F., & Yaroch, A. (2015). The supplemental nutrition assistance program, food insecurity, dietary quality, and obesity among US adults. American Journal of Public Health, 105(7), 1453–1459.Google Scholar
- Ohls, J., Ponza, M., Moreno, L., Zambrowski, A., & Cohen, R. (1999). Food stamp participants’ access to food retailers. USDA Final Report. MPR (8243-140).Google Scholar
- Oliveira, V., Prell, M., & Tiehen, L. (2018) Eligibility requiremnets for SNAP retailers: Balancing access, nutrition, and integrity. USDA Amber Waves Feature.Google Scholar
- Rigby, S., Leone, A., Kim, H., Betterley, C., Johnson, M., Kurtz, H., et al. (2012). Food Deserts in Leon County, FL: Disparate distribution of supplemental nutrition assistance program accepting stores by neighborhood characteristics. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 44(6), 539–547.Google Scholar
- Sampson, R. (2012). Great American city: Chicago and the enduring neighborhood effect. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Schuetz, J., Kolko, J., & Meltzer, R. (2012). Are poor neighborhoods “retail deserts”? Regional Science and Urban Economics, 42(1–2), 269–285.Google Scholar
- Shannon, J. (2014). What does SNAP benefit usage tell us about food access in low-income neighborhoods? Social Science and Medicine, 107, 89–99.Google Scholar
- Shannon, J., Shannon, S., Adams, G., & Lee, J. (2016). Growth in SNAP retailers was associated with increased client enrollment in georgia during the great recession. Health Affairs, 35(11), 2100–2108.Google Scholar
- Sharkey, J. (2009). Measuring potential access to food stores and food-service places in rural areas in the US. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(4), S151–S155.Google Scholar
- Slack, T., & Myers, C. (2014). The great recession and the changing geography of food stamp receipt. Population Research and Policy Review, 33(1), 63–79.Google Scholar
- Stewart, H., & Dong, D. (2011). Variation in retail costs for fresh vegetables and salty snacks across communities in the United States. Food Policy, 36(2), 128–135.Google Scholar
- Syrett, C., & Vaughan, B. (2014). Healthy corner stores: A community-based participatory research project. Retrieved from http://www.preventionlane.org/obesity-prevention-policy.
- USDA. (2011). Supplemental nutrition assistance program’s benefit redemption division (BRD) annual report for fiscal year 2010. Retrieved from https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/snap/2010-annual-report.pdf.
- USDA. (2014). The supplemental nutrition assistance program: Training guide for retailers. Retrieved from http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/Retailer_Training_Guide.pdf.
- USDA. (2016a). SNAP retailer management 2015 year end summary. Retrieved from https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/snap/2015-SNAP-Retailer-Management-Year-End-Summary.pdf.
- USDA. (2016b). USDA boosts healthy food access, sets new standards for SNAP retailers [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2016/12/0260.xml&contentidonly=true.
- USDA. (2018). Supplemental nutrtiion assistance program—is my store eligible? Retrieved September 5, 2018, from https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/my-store-eligible.
- Ver Ploeg, M., Breneman, V., Farrigan, T., Hamrick, K., Hopkins, D., Kaufman, P., & Williams, R. (2009). Access to affordable and nutritious food: measuring and understanding food deserts and their consequences. Report to Congress. Google Scholar
- Ver Ploeg, M., Dutko, P., & Breneman, V. (2014). Measuring food access and food deserts for policy purposes. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 37(2), 205–225.Google Scholar
- Wilde, P. (2012). The new normal: The supplemental nutrition assistance program. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 95(2), 325–331.Google Scholar
- Wong, D. (2009). The modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP). In The SAGE handbook of spatial analysis (pp. 105–123).Google Scholar
- Wood, B., & Horner, M. (2015). Understanding accessibility to snap-accepting food store locations: Disentangling the roles of transportation and socioeconomic status. Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, 9(3), 1–19.Google Scholar
- Wood, S., & Browne, S. (2007). Convenience store location planning and forecasting—a practical research agenda. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 35(4), 233–255.Google Scholar
- Yan, R., Bastian, N., & Griffin, P. (2015). Association of food environment and food retailers with obesity in U.S. adults. Health & Place, 33, 19–24.Google Scholar