3 Cities in upstate New York have one of the highest food stamp acceptance rates in the United States.


Three of the largest cities in Upstate New York are among the 25 U.S. communities with the highest rates of food stamp recipients, according to Census data.

Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse are all on the list and you can see them in the table below. If you can’t see the table, click here to open this story in your web browser.

Cities are ranked by the percentage of households benefiting from the Federal Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Only cities with a population of 100,000 or more are included.

Syracuse ranks 11th nationally with 28.8% of households benefiting from food stamps between 2017 and 2021.

Buffalo ranks ninth in food stamp coverage in the nation, and Rochester ranks eighth. More than 30% of her households in both cities benefited from her SNAP in the 2017-2021 period, according to census data.

This number is based on census estimates released in December.

All of the big cities in upstate New York suffer from high levels of poverty, especially among children.

Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo have had some of the highest child poverty rates in the country in recent years. Syracuse leads all U.S. cities with at least 100,000 children in poverty in the 2017-2021 Census estimates.

The high number of food stamp recipients in the city is evidence of the challenges facing residents. This program helps low-income people buy food.

According to the Census, households with children, minorities, and residents with disabilities in the city have higher numbers of food stamps.

  • Percentage of Syracuse households with children receiving SNAP benefits: 49.4%
  • Percentage of Syracuse households with residents with disabilities receiving SNAP benefits: 48.2%
  • Black households in Syracuse benefit from SNAP: 47.2%
  • Syracuse Hispanic households benefiting from SNAP: 44.4%

Nationally, Hialeah, Florida had the highest percentage of food stamp recipients in the nation from 2017 to 2021, at 42%. Hartford, Connecticut was his second and Detroit, Michigan was his third.

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