The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — known as CalFresh in California — is the largest federal food assistance program for families with low incomes. On average, nearly 5 million Californians received CalFresh benefits each month in 2022. While CalFresh participation varied across the state, around one-quarter of the population in three congressional districts depended on this program to put food on their tables.
CalFresh has been instrumental in recent years in combating poverty and feeding families as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt throughout the state. This year, the program is due for reauthorization at the federal level, with the Farm Bill set to expire in September. With much of the COVID-19 pandemic relief ending or being rolled back, including SNAP emergency allotments and Pandemic EBT, many CalFresh recipients will see their benefits decrease.1See report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for additional information on temporary pandemic-related SNAP benefits. Food insecurity across California may be exacerbated without this additional support that many families have come to rely on. Federal and state leaders should protect and strengthen CalFresh.
Almost 5 Million Californians Benefited from CalFresh Every Month in 2022
|Congressional District||Representative||Party||Estimated Average Number of Participants, 2022*||CalFresh Participants as a Share of the District Population||Rank (Highest to Lowest Percentage)||Estimated Annual CalFresh Benefits**|
|22||David G. Valadao||Republican||188,000||23.6%||2||$543,496,000|
* Figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Estimates do not sum to total due to rounding and excluded zip code data.
** Figures are rounded to the nearest 1,000. Estimates do not sum to total due to rounding and excluded zip code data.
Note: Values for California reflect the actual number of CalFresh participants and the total value of CalFresh benefits for January through December. District-level estimates are based on zip code-level data for CalFresh recipients in December 2022. About 1% of zip code-level data are excluded due to hidden totals for de-identification purposes and special classifications of zip codes. Therefore, participation for some congressional districts may be underestimated. Data are for individuals receiving federal SNAP benefits and do not reflect individuals receiving state-funded assistance through the California Food Assistance Program.
Source: California Budget & Policy Center analysis of data from the Department of Social Services and US Census Bureau, American Community Survey