Disparities in Access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Retailers Over Time and Space

  • Clare Y. ChoEmail author
  • Jill K. Clark
Original Research


The largest public assistance program in the United States, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), relies on private retailers for program access. We analyze geo-coded SNAP-authorized convenience and grocery stores in 2000 and 2010 to determine factors associated with their accessibility. Results demonstrate that accessibility was higher in areas with high rates of SNAP income-eligible individuals, but that some spatial disparity persists, particularly in areas with lower initial access and rural areas. Findings highlight the importance of SNAP-authorized convenience stores if markets continue to determine the location of SNAP access points.


SNAP Food access Spatial analysis Grocery stores Convenience stores Disparity 

JEL Classification

I30 I38 L11 L20 



The authors thank Neal Hooker for helping to shape the analysis and Trevor Brown for reviewing an earlier draft. We thank Morton O’Kelly for his assistance in collecting the census data. We thank David Norris and Jason Reece for assistance in geo-coding. Part of the geocoding was conducted using Texas A&M’s Geocoder. Finally, we thank the USDA FNS for making data available for this study and responding to our inquiries about its use. The findings and conclusions in this preliminary publication have not been formally disseminated by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.

Supplementary material

11113_2019_9514_MOESM1_ESM.docx (86 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 86 kb)


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Copyright information

© © Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Department of AgricultureEconomic Research ServiceWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.John Glenn College of Public AffairsOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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