Racial Equity
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity

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Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2016-20

What does this measure?

The proportion of households broken out by race and ethnicity that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps).

Why is this important?

The SNAP program provides government funding for low-income people to buy food. It therefore indicates how many people in a region cannot support themselves at a basic level. Differences among racial and ethnic groups may reflect the economic health of these groups, as well as potential disparities in access to economic opportunity.

How is our region doing?

In 2016-20, 24% of Hispanic residents and 18% of African American residents participated in SNAP, compared to 8% of Asian residents and 7% of white residents. By comparison, Massachusetts as a whole had rates of 33% for Hispanic residents, 26% for African American residents, 10% for Asian residents, and 9% for white residents. In the U.S. as a whole, the rates were 19% for Hispanic residents, 24% for African American residents, 7% for Asian residents, and 9% for white residents.

Why do these disparities exist?

Research connects lower incomes and higher poverty rates among people of color to historic and current policies and practices that disadvantaged people of color. These policies and systems, ranging from inequitable access to housing to employment discrimination to education systems that fail to equitably serve all populations, have prevented people of color from fully participating in our economy, locking them out of economic opportunity. This has increased the need for some groups to access programs to support basic needs such as SNAP.

Notes about the data

The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African American, etc.) separately from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). Thus, the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.

Studies have found that national survey estimates (including the ACS) of enrollment in public benefit programs tend to underestimate the true rate due to underreporting by participants, when compared with state-level administrative data. Underreporting can occur for a variety of reasons, including the social stigma of program participation and participants' confusion about the source of the services they receive. For these reasons, the estimates reported above should be considered a lower bound of the true estimate.

The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census.

Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2016-20
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States7%24%19%9%
Massachusetts10%26%33%9%
Region8%18%24%7%
Middlesex County7%19%18%6%
Norfolk County8%16%11%*6%
Worcester County10%*21%37%11%
Acton town, Middlesex County5%***0%***10%***5%**
Ashland town, Middlesex County0%***38%***13%***3%***
Bedford town, Middlesex County0%***0%***13%***1%***
Bellingham town, Norfolk County0%***0%***27%***10%***
Boxborough town, Middlesex County3%***0%***0%***2%***
Carlisle town, Middlesex County0%***0%***0%***1%***
Concord town, Middlesex County23%***0%***1%***1%***
Dedham town, Norfolk County0%***12%***6%***5%*
Dover town, Norfolk County0%***0%***0%***0%***
Framingham city, Middlesex County11%***22%**25%*8%
Franklin town, Norfolk County3%***50%***27%***4%**
Groton town, Middlesex County0%***0%***0%***4%***
Harvard town, Worcester County0%***0%***0%***0%***
Holliston town, Middlesex County2%***0%***0%***3%***
Hopkinton town, Middlesex County0%***0%***32%***2%***
Hudson town, Middlesex County29%***37%***30%***4%*
Lexington town, Middlesex County2%***0%***0%***2%**
Lincoln town, Middlesex County13%***0%***33%***6%***
Littleton town, Middlesex County15%***0%***0%***3%***
Marlborough city, Middlesex County4%***8%***12%***8%*
Maynard town, Middlesex County0%***0%***41%***2%***
Medfield town, Norfolk County0%***16%***0%***1%***
Medway town, Norfolk County0%***53%***30%***3%***
Milford town, Worcester County0%***0%***16%***7%*
Millis town, Norfolk County31%***0%***49%***2%***
Natick town, Middlesex County0%***7%***5%***3%*
Needham town, Norfolk County0%***16%***0%***3%**
Sherborn town, Middlesex County0%***0%***0%***2%***
Southborough town, Worcester County6%***0%***0%***2%***
Stow town, Middlesex County0%***0%***0%***1%***
Sudbury town, Middlesex County0%***0%***0%***2%***
Walpole town, Norfolk County6%***0%***7%***4%**
Waltham city, Middlesex County5%***5%***8%***5%*
Wayland town, Middlesex County2%***50%***0%***1%***
Wellesley town, Norfolk County2%***77%***8%***1%***
Westborough town, Worcester County7%***21%***3%***2%***
Westford town, Middlesex County4%***17%***8%***2%***
Weston town, Middlesex County0%***57%***0%***2%***
Westwood town, Norfolk County0%***0%***0%***2%***

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number of Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2016-20
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States422,6743,662,3623,041,4717,960,865
Massachusetts15,52844,05483,926195,449
Region8,02610,57219,31168,736
Middlesex County4,6125,2667,07126,987
Norfolk County2,1542,6041,164*11,950
Worcester County1,260*2,70211,07629,799
Acton town, Middlesex County87***0***32***308**
Ashland town, Middlesex County0***146***52***197***
Bedford town, Middlesex County0***0***14***62***
Bellingham town, Norfolk County0***0***47***619***
Boxborough town, Middlesex County9***0***0***32***
Carlisle town, Middlesex County0***0***0***10***
Concord town, Middlesex County86***0***2***79***
Dedham town, Norfolk County0***81***50***483*
Dover town, Norfolk County0***0***0***0***
Framingham city, Middlesex County272***333**939*1,568
Franklin town, Norfolk County17***78***72***411**
Groton town, Middlesex County0***0***0***138***
Harvard town, Worcester County0***0***0***5***
Holliston town, Middlesex County5***0***0***145***
Hopkinton town, Middlesex County0***0***41***113***
Hudson town, Middlesex County37***14***87***311*
Lexington town, Middlesex County59***0***0***158**
Lincoln town, Middlesex County14***0***57***138***
Littleton town, Middlesex County28***0***0***86***
Marlborough city, Middlesex County30***42***234***1,023*
Maynard town, Middlesex County0***0***41***94***
Medfield town, Norfolk County0***8***0***46***
Medway town, Norfolk County0***19***22***139***
Milford town, Worcester County0***0***155***662*
Millis town, Norfolk County11***0***26***72***
Natick town, Middlesex County0***23***17***358*
Needham town, Norfolk County0***39***0***250**
Sherborn town, Middlesex County0***0***0***25***
Southborough town, Worcester County29***0***0***53***
Stow town, Middlesex County0***0***0***26***
Sudbury town, Middlesex County0***0***0***96***
Walpole town, Norfolk County23***0***32***296**
Waltham city, Middlesex County159***66***186***944*
Wayland town, Middlesex County11***10***0***36***
Wellesley town, Norfolk County19***77***28***103***
Westborough town, Worcester County105***37***13***88***
Westford town, Middlesex County63***5***16***148***
Weston town, Middlesex County0***13***0***62***
Westwood town, Norfolk County0***0***0***106***

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




INDICATORS
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Single-Parent Families
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity
Disengaged Youth
Reports of Domestic Violence
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments
Households Without Vehicles
Means of Transportation to Work
Households With Internet Access
Voter Participation Rate
Average Charitable Contribution
People Without Health Insurance
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate
Crimes Against People
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Total Population
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Foreign-Born Population
Language Diversity
Population by Age
Change in Population by Age/Gender
Seniors Living Alone
People with Disabilities
Change in Total Jobs by Sector
Unemployment Rate
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity
Average Salary by Sector
High-Tech Jobs
Female to Male Earnings Ratio
Prekindergarten Participation
School Spending Per Student
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group
Chronically Absent Students
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity
Living Wage
80/20 Income Ratio
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity
Homeownership Rates
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Rent
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity
Homelessness
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity


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