Racial Equity
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity

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Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity, 2014-18

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 2014-18, 26% of Hispanic residents and 20% of African American residents participated in SNAP, compared to 9% of Asian residents and 7% of white residents. By comparison, Massachusetts as a whole had rates of 36% for Hispanic residents, 27% for African American residents, 12% for Asian residents, and 9% for white residents. In the U.S. as a whole, the rates were 21% for Hispanic residents, 26% for African American residents, 7% for Asian residents, and 10% 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.) 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.

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, 2014-18
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States7%26%21%10%
Massachusetts12%27%36%9%
Region9%20%26%7%
Middlesex8%21%21%6%
Norfolk9%15%12%**6%
Worcester9%**24%38%11%
Acton town, Middlesex County5%******0%******16%******6%****
Ashland town, Middlesex County0%******10%******9%******4%****
Bedford town, Middlesex County0%******37%******32%******3%******
Bellingham town, Norfolk County0%******0%******8%******8%****
Boxborough town, Middlesex County2%******0%******43%******2%******
Carlisle town, Middlesex County0%******0%******0%******1%******
Concord town, Middlesex County18%******0%******0%******2%******
Dedham town, Norfolk County0%******9%******8%******6%**
Dover town, Norfolk County0%******0%******0%******0%******
Framingham city, Middlesex County8%******16%****26%**8%
Franklin town, Norfolk County3%******21%******41%******5%****
Groton town, Middlesex County0%******0%******0%******3%******
Harvard town, Worcester County0%******26%******0%******1%******
Holliston town, Middlesex County11%******0%******0%******2%******
Hopkinton town, Middlesex County0%******37%******34%******2%******
Hudson town, Middlesex County16%******0%******20%******4%****
Lexington town, Middlesex County4%******5%******0%******3%****
Lincoln town, Middlesex County7%******0%******17%******5%******
Littleton town, Middlesex County8%******0%******0%******7%****
Marlborough city, Middlesex County0%******16%******22%******8%**
Maynard town, Middlesex County55%******0%******46%******2%******
Medfield town, Norfolk County0%******29%******0%******2%******
Medway town, Norfolk County0%******0%******10%******2%****
Milford town, Worcester County1%******5%******25%******8%**
Millis town, Norfolk County100%******0%******31%******3%******
Natick town, Middlesex County0%******13%******6%******3%**
Needham town, Norfolk County2%******18%******0%******3%****
Sherborn town, Middlesex County0%******0%******0%******1%******
Southborough town, Worcester County4%******0%******0%******2%******
Stow town, Middlesex County0%******0%******0%******2%******
Sudbury town, Middlesex County0%******0%******0%******2%******
Walpole town, Norfolk County5%******26%******4%******3%****
Waltham city, Middlesex County11%****7%******16%******5%**
Wayland town, Middlesex County0%******0%******0%******2%******
Wellesley town, Norfolk County1%******54%******9%******2%****
Westborough town, Worcester County9%******6%******0%******2%******
Westford town, Middlesex County5%******22%******0%******3%******
Weston town, Middlesex County2%******30%******0%******1%******
Westwood town, Norfolk County0%******0%******0%******1%******

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, 2014-18
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
United States402,8723,835,4253,207,2508,783,139
Massachusetts16,35446,28485,792203,826
Region8,23711,15319,20270,380
Middlesex5,0655,7087,77928,987
Norfolk2,0522,3691,081**12,134
Worcester1,120**3,07610,34229,259
Acton town, Middlesex County90******0******34******405****
Ashland town, Middlesex County0******16******34******248****
Bedford town, Middlesex County0******52******42******124******
Bellingham town, Norfolk County0******0******15******476****
Boxborough town, Middlesex County7******0******17******27******
Carlisle town, Middlesex County0******0******0******15******
Concord town, Middlesex County57******0******0******100******
Dedham town, Norfolk County0******61******56******526**
Dover town, Norfolk County0******0******0******0******
Framingham city, Middlesex County205******270****950**1,638
Franklin town, Norfolk County13******20******83******537****
Groton town, Middlesex County0******0******0******123******
Harvard town, Worcester County0******8******0******16******
Holliston town, Middlesex County25******0******0******115******
Hopkinton town, Middlesex County0******34******36******82******
Hudson town, Middlesex County24******0******56******282****
Lexington town, Middlesex County128******6******0******266****
Lincoln town, Middlesex County15******0******19******113******
Littleton town, Middlesex County13******0******0******231****
Marlborough city, Middlesex County0******53******404******999**
Maynard town, Middlesex County63******0******55******93******
Medfield town, Norfolk County0******10******0******77******
Medway town, Norfolk County0******0******9******98****
Milford town, Worcester County4******9******221******831**
Millis town, Norfolk County40******0******26******77******
Natick town, Middlesex County0******33******29******357**
Needham town, Norfolk County17******55******0******274****
Sherborn town, Middlesex County0******0******0******21******
Southborough town, Worcester County13******0******0******74******
Stow town, Middlesex County0******0******0******37******
Sudbury town, Middlesex County0******0******0******123******
Walpole town, Norfolk County17******43******15******285****
Waltham city, Middlesex County278****115******339******827**
Wayland town, Middlesex County0******0******0******92******
Wellesley town, Norfolk County8******75******30******147****
Westborough town, Worcester County132******12******0******78******
Westford town, Middlesex County60******8******0******179******
Weston town, Middlesex County7******9******0******48******
Westwood town, Norfolk County0******0******0******62******

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
Infant Mortality 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
Average Travel Time to Work
Households With Internet Access
Voter Participation Rate
Average Charitable Contribution
Protected Land
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
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Average Salary by Sector
High-Tech Jobs
Female to Male Earnings Ratio
Prekindergarten Participation
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
People Living in Poverty
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Household 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
Infant Mortality 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
Unemployment Rate 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
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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