CFPA's Program Access Index (PAI) estimates CalFresh utilization among
low-income individuals in each of California's 58 counties.
For more on CalFresh, visit our
Please note that a revised iteration of the 2010 Program Access Index was released in March 2013. The revision corrects for an overestimation of individuals with incomes below 125 percent of poverty. The results of the revised analysis are shown in the data tables of the full report and in the tables included below but not in the county press releases. We sincerely regret the error in the initial analysis and have taken steps to prevent similar issues in the future.
County-specific press releases are available here:
Meauring County CalFresh Performance in 2010: The Program Access Index PDF
Please note that the methodology used to generate the 2010 Program Access Index (PAI) differs from the methodology used in years past. This adjustment was necessary due to a change in available data sources. For full details, please see the Methodology section of the full report.
Tables showing the PAI for all California counties are available below.
The PAI estimates CalFresh utilization among low-income individuals. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) produces an annual state-level PAI. The PAI provided on this page is a county-level analysis modeled on the USDA methodology. As shown in the general formula below, the county-level PAI estimates CalFresh utilization among individuals who meet three eligibility criteria:
The PAI incorporates only three CalFresh eligibility criteria. Therefore, it is not a participation rate that measure CalFresh utilization among fully-eligible individuals. However, the PAI can help illuminate county-level differences in CalFresh utilization by comparing the number of individuals who meet select CalFresh eligibility criteria and the number of individuals who actually receive CalFresh benefits.
Each year, USDA releases SNAP/CalFresh participation rates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These participation rates are complex estimates of SNAP/CalFresh utilization among eligible individuals. The rates take into account several factors affecting SNAP/CalFresh eligibility and utilization. In comparison, the PAI takes into account three CalFresh criteria: income, FDPIR participation, and SSI status.
USDA state participation rates may be the best available estimates of CalFresh utilization among eligible individuals. However, the rates are calculated as statewide measures and have limited relevance at the county level, particularly in a state as diverse as California. USDA does not calculate county-level participation rates.
State participation rates for any given year are typically released two years following while the PAI can be calculated within one year.
Because CalFresh policies and practices vary among California counties, county-level measures that assess the extent to which CalFresh administrators reach and serve the eligible popualtion are critical. The PAI is one such measure because CalFresh administration affects a central component of the PAI calculation: the number of individuals receiving CalFresh benefits. On its own, the PAI is not a comprehensire tool for evaluating counties' administration of CalFresh. Advocates and administrators should work to establish the use of additional indicators in assessing CalFresh administrative performance.
The county-level PAI is not designed to definitively establish trends over time. There are two primary challenges with using the PAI in this manner:
The tables below show the PAI for all 58 California counties and include county rankings. The number-one-ranked county has the highest CalFresh utilization relative to the total number of income-eligible individuals who do not participate in FDPIR or receive SSI.5
Table 1 lists the counties alphabetically. Table 2 lists the counties by PAI rank.
Printable version of Tables 1 and 2 PDF
Table notes 1-4: The PAI is listed here with three significant digits. However, the PAI used to calculate the county ranking contained 15 significant digits. Viewed with four significant digits, Sierra County’s PAI is 0.6938 and Inyo County's PAI is 0.6937. Thus, their respective ranks are 23 and 24. Similarly, Los Angeles County’s PAI is 0.5530 and Mariposa County’s PAI is 0.5529; Modoc County’s PAI is 0.5358 and San Francisco County’s PAI is 0.5356; and Marin County’s PAI is 0.4014 while Colusa County’s PAI is 0.4010.