Study of Households in Iowa that Left the Food Stamp Program, A

Helen H. Jensen, Steven B. Garasky, Cory Wessman, Sarah M. Nusser
March 2002  [02-SR 97]

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Jensen, H.H., S. Garasky, C. Wessman, and S.M. Nusser. 2002. "Study of Households in Iowa that Left the Food Stamp Program, A." Staff report 02-SR 97. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.


Iowa experienced sharp decreases in Food Stamp Program (FSP) enrollment in the last years of the 1990s. This period followed significant changes in social assistance programs in the state, the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, and a period of good economic conditions. Data collected in a 1999 survey conducted in Iowa provide information about the well-being of families that had participated in Iowa's Food Stamp Program in 1997, the time immediately following the introduction of the new regulations. Nearly 58 percent of those participating in the FSP in 1997 were not participating in the program when interviewed in 1999. Those who left the FSP in 1997 showed better economic and employment outcomes than did others. This was true for working age adults without dependents or a disability. Adults without dependents or a disability who remained in the FSP in 1997 showed evidence of the greatest hardships: they were most likely to have very low income, less contribution from earned income, and to have experienced food insecurity and hunger in the last year. Over one-half of all of the households in the survey had used private food assistance in the past year.