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Providers Household Pulse Survey: May 2023

The following insights come from a 10-minute multiple choice and open response survey conducted by Providers to a random sample of 3,580 of over 5M Providers users from May 1 - May 14, 2023. All respondents are EBT cardholders.

Providers Household Pulse Survey: May 2023

Food insecurity among Providers users hit unprecedented levels for the second consecutive month.

  • The share of surveyed users relying on family members and/or friends for food in the last month rose by 22% to 32% overall, marking the highest level since Providers began its monthly survey of users in September 2020.

  • Nearly 44% of respondents reported skipping meals in the last month – a 7% increase from April and yet another all-time high

  • In May, nearly half of surveyed users reported that they couldn’t afford the kinds of foods they wanted to and 54% reported cutting back on food intake. 

“We can't afford to spend cash on food – everything's too expensive. We go to food banks but they don't supply enough or the essential things such as milk, bread, eggs, and oil, so we go without these things until SNAP comes. I'm having a very difficult time trying to figure out why SNAP benefits are being cut when the cost of food keeps rising.” - Sherrell, WA

“I have never had to use the food bank before but I have to use it now.” - Donna, KY


Rising energy costs are driving extreme financial hardship – particularly among Providers households with children. 

  • The share of respondents who believe the money they currently have on hand will only last 1-2 days rose by nearly 20% to 57% overall.

  • Over 43% of respondents owe past-due utilities or household bills and 26% owe past-due rent or mortgage. This represents a 34.7% and 24% increase from April respectively. 

  • In May, households with children were 1.5 times more likely to struggle with paying their full rent, 1.6 times more likely to have unpaid utility bills, and twice as likely to pay their utility bills late compared to childless households. 

“I work for the [local] school system and only get paid once a month. By the time I pay my rent, car payment, car insurance, pay back my payday loan, and credit card bills my check is pretty much gone. My light bill has been really high lately making it hard to keep up with my other bills (water, gas, internet). About three months ago, my light bill was almost $500, and I couldn’t figure out why. I had to get assistance from my mother, which meant the following month I was short again due to having to pay her back. It’s just a struggling cycle.” - Nioka, NC

“I have felt miserable not being able to provide my kids with extra money for field trips, school functions and extracurricular activities. My kids cannot participate in most things, and I have had to pawn things like electronics that we use as a family to try to meet rising costs.”- Alisa, TX


Eviction rates and energy insecurity are surging as households grapple with unpaid bills.   

  • Evictions among surveyed users increased by 40% from April to over 5% of respondents overall.

  • Over 11% of respondents have had their utilities shut off in the last month – a 24% increase. 

  • Households with children were 1.6 times more likely than childless households to have had their utilities shut off in the last month. 

“My sister and mother pay my car insurance, electricity, cell phone, and other expenses as needed because 97% of my income goes to rent. After the Emergency Funds were deducted from my SNAP benefits it has become difficult to purchase food to make three meals a day. I typically only have one meal a day during the weekends as it's all I can afford. I have become reliant on the local food bank.” - Michael, WA

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