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Any family member received food stamp/SNAP benefits last calendar year

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample children and sample adults, (and family reference persons from 1990 to 1996 and all persons from 1997 to 2018), GOTSTAMPFAM indicates if ANY family member(s) in the person's family was authorized to receive food stamps or SNAP benefits at any time during the month prior to the interview (in the 1990-1996 samples) or during the previous calendar year (from 1997 forward).

From 1993 to 1996, the universe only included family reference persons who are not from single-person or married-couple only families with an annual income above $20,000.

In 1993, this question was only asked of persons who were interviewed in quarters 3 and 4.


From 1990 to 1996, GOTSTAMPFAM is part of the Family Resources supplement that provides information on individuals' health benefits, amount of coverage and income received from employment, welfare benefits, public assistance, and savings. Starting in 1997, this variable is part of the family file questionnaires.

Questions in the Family Resources supplement are different from those in the family life questionnaires in terms of the content and the treatment of missing data. Missing data in the Family Resources supplement were imputed and users can refer to the imputation flag variables to identify persons with imputed data.

Please refer to GOTSTMPFAMFL to identify persons in families whose data on food stamp receipt was imputed.

From 1997 to 2010, the term "food stamps" was defined as including "a food stamp card or voucher, or cash grants from the state for food." Beginning in 2011, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program replaced food stamps.

Data users interested in whether a particular person was eligible for food stamp benefits may wish to use variable GOTSTAMP, which indicates whether the specific person was authorized to receive food stamps during the past year. GOTSTAMP is only available from 1997 to 2010 and was discontinued with the introduction of the SNAP program. NHIS cautions GOTSTAMP "may have limited analytic value at the person level since food stamp authorization is based on a family's economic circumstances."


This variable is only comparable within the samples from 1990 to 1996, from 1997-2018, and from 2019 forward.

Within samples from 1990 to 1997, users should exclude single-person households and married-couple households in 1990-1992 whose annual income is more than $20,000 (use INCFAMR82ON).

Questionnaire design changes introduced in 2019 limit comparability with earlier years. The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 1990-1992: Family respondents
  • 1993-1996: Family respondents who were NOT from single person or married-couple only families with $20,000+ annual income.
  • 1997-2018: All persons.
  • 2019-2022: Sample children age 0-17 and sample adults age 18+.


  • 1990-2022