IPR Policy Briefs


The Safety Net as an Investment
By Hilary Hoynes and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
Presented at the White House's "A Conversation on Hunger in America," January 27, 2016

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) plays an important role in the lives of low-income children. After accounting for underreporting in the data, researchers have found that in 2012 the program lifted 4.9 million children out of poverty—and also lifted more than 2.1 million children out of deep poverty, defined as having an income level less than half of the poverty line. In addition, two-thirds of total SNAP benefits go to families with children. A growing body of evidence suggests it is particularly important to protect children from deprivation. In recent work the authors find that SNAP’s impact on children is large and the benefits endure into adulthood, especially when implemented at key developmental points in infancy and childhood.

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