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Biden administration’s re-evaluation of SNAP may lift families out of poverty, expert says

Researcher’s app tracks seven economic indicators, including food insecurity, across the country and state by state

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Biden administration’s expansion of federal food assistance programs will mean much needed immediate relief for hungry families through changes to SNAP and the new P-EBT program, which provides money for missed school meals. It could also mean longer term policy changes with the potential to lift more families out of poverty, says economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, who has developed an app to track food insecurity and other indicators.

Schanzenbach is director of the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and Margaret Walker Alexander Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. An expert in poverty and economics and a leading researcher focused on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), she is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

IPR researchers have created a new application for tracking seven economic indicators data across the nation and state by state. Users can find data from April 23, 2020, onward from the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey on unemployment, children's schooling, housing, finances, mental health, and food insecurity for American households. Read the report. Using Census data, they have also developed an app that graphs weekly food insecurity rates for different states and different racial and ethnic groups. Schanzenbach can be reach at dws@northwestern.edu.