More than 2.2 million people have discontinued their participation in food stamps during President Trump’s first full year in office, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data on food stamp enrollment.
The latest USDA data shows that since Trump’s first full month in office in February 2017—when food stamp enrollment was at 42,289,366— participation in the program decreased by 2,257,235 to 40,032,131.
The continued decline in enrollment during Trump’s first full year is on pace with the steady decline in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation since 2013.
Before then, participation in the federal welfare program swelled to 47.6 million—the highest amount it has ever been since former President Lyndon Johnson authorized the creation of the food stamp program in 1964. Taxpayers spent $79.8 million on SNAP when enrollment reached its peak in 2013.
After 2013, enrollment in SNAP declined as states passed laws requiring food stamp recipients to work, volunteer, attend school, or take part in job training for a set number of hours a week to receive food stamps. The improving economy also contributed to the continuing decline in food stamp usage.
Although the decline in enrollment is on pace with current trends, the Trump administration has announced several initiatives that might drive down enrollment even further over the next year.
Trump announced he would make it a priority of his administration to keep SNAP program costs down at the state and federal levels as a way to reform the nation’s food stamp program.
The USDA hired an “integrity officer” in March to prevent fraud in the country’s SNAP program and announced in February the rollout of its “Harvest Box” program to give food stamp recipients a box of food as part of their monthly benefits package.
The agency also released a plan in January that would implement work requirements for food stamp recipients nationwide.