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
County-specific press releases are available here:
Meauring County CalFresh Performance in 2009: The Program Access Index PDF
The Program Access Index (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 administration and utilization.
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 criteria for food stamp eligibility, including income, household resources, receipt of SSI, and citizenship/immigration status.4 In comparison, the PAI takes into account three CalFresh criteria: income, FDPIR participation, and SSI status.
State participation rates for any given year are typically released two years following. In contrast, the PAI can be calculated within one year.
USDA state participation rates may be the best available estimates of CalFresh utilization among fully-eligible individuals. However, the rates are calculated as statewide measures and have limited relevance at the county level. USDA does not calculate county-level participation rates. Because CalFresh policies and practices vary across California counties, a county-level indicator of utilization and administrative performance is necessary. The PAI is one such indicator.
The PAI methodology can also be used to estimate, by county, the number of income-eligible individuals who are not participating in the Food Stamp Program. These estimates are available here.
The tables below show the PAI for all 58 California counties and include county rankings. These tables reflect the most recently available information, which is data from 2009. The number-one-ranked county has the highest PAI score. That is, 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
Tables A and B show the most accurate PAI score available for each county.6 Table A lists the counties alphabetically. Table B lists the counties by PAI rank.
For a printable PDF of Tables A and B, click here.
Table notes 1-4: PAI is listed here with three significant digits (i.e. three digits to the right of the decimal point).However, the PAI used to calculate the county ranking contained 15 significant digits. Viewed with foursignificant digits, Madera County's PAI is 0.5774 and Sutter County's PAI is 0.5770. Thus, their respectiveranks are 17 and 18. Similarly:
* denotes California's 18 smallest counties (by population)