This study examines the extent to which geographic variation in Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation is explained by place-based factors, with special attention to the case of the three poorest regions of the United States: Central Appalachia, the Texas Borderland, and the Lower Mississippi Delta. We use descriptive statistics and regression models to assess the prevalence and correlates of county-level FSP participation circa 2005. Our findings show that the economic distress that has long characterized Appalachia, the Borderland, and the Delta clearly translates into greater reliance on the FSP relative to other areas of the country. State-level effects and local-level variations in poverty, labor market conditions, population structure, human capital, and residential context explain much of this reality. Yet, even after taking all of these factors into account, these regional geographies remain home to particularly high FSP participation. Our findings underscore the importance of considering these regions as key cases of study in the stratification of American society and hold a variety of implications for public policy. (author abstract)
Understanding the geography of food stamp program participation: Do space and place matter?
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