Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 117–131 | Cite as

The Receipt of Government Food Assistance: Differences Between Metro and Non-Metro Households

  • Robert B. Nielsen
  • Martin C. Seay
  • Melissa J. WilmarthEmail author
Original Paper


This research investigated differences in households’ receipt of government food assistance through such programs as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; free and reduced school meals; and related local and/or federal programs. With panel data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation that span the Great Recession, differences in the receipt of government food assistance in metro and non-metro areas were identified. Longitudinal random effects models suggest that despite relatively similar levels of food insecurity in 2005 and 2010, a higher proportion of non-metro households received government food assistance. Results also suggest that this assistance gap widened post-recession when government resources were expanded. These results inform a continuing debate about the efficient allocation of resources intended to reduce food hardship disparities, and increase family economic well-being, in metro and non-metro areas.


Food assistance SNAP WIC Metro Rural SIPP 



This research was supported, in part, by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch project 1003397. The performing organization was the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station, which supported project GEO00731.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert B. Nielsen
    • 1
  • Martin C. Seay
    • 2
  • Melissa J. Wilmarth
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Financial Planning, Housing, and Consumer EconomicsUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.School of Family Studies and Human ServicesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  3. 3.Department of Consumer SciencesUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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