Analysis: 15.4% of Cook County residents enrolled in food stamp program
About 804,740 Cook County residents – or about 15.4 percent of the county’s population – were on food stamp rolls in January 2017, according to a Chicago City Wire analysis of 66 Illinois welfare offices.
Cook County serves 43.09 percent of Illinois food stamp recipients, according to data obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. That’s slightly higher than the portion of the state’s population the county represents. About 40.9 percent of the 12.8 million people in Illinois reside in Cook County.
Illinois welfare offices are operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services, formerly known as the Illinois Department of Public Aid. It administers SNAP at offices in 52 of the state’s 102 counties, so residents in a county without an office would travel to one with an office.
Those 52 counties account for about 92 percent of the state’s population. This may, in part, account for why the portion SNAP participants in a given county is higher than the portion of Illinois residents living in that county.
About 1.65 percent of residents in the Illinois SNAP program were served by the South Loop welfare office, while Blue Island served 4.91 percent of the state's SNAP recipients. The Skokie office represented 4.49 percent of SNAP recipients in Illinois.
Breakdown of food stamp recipients in Cook County
|Office location||Recipients population January 2017||Recipients as portion of state SNAP participants|
|Chicago - South Loop||30,791||1.65%|
|Chicago - East Garfield Park||34,283||1.84%|
|Chicago - Humboldt Park||76,269||4.08%|
|Chicago - Englewood||68,180||3.65%|
|Chicago - Back of the Yards||65,219||3.49%|
|Chicago - North Lawndale||41,677||2.23%|
|Chicago - Uptown||24,658||1.32%|
|Chicago - Roseland||43,266||2.32%|
|Chicago - Chatham||68,824||3.68%|
|Chicago - Woodlawn||47,645||2.55%|