Fact Check: Trump Attack on “Inner Cities”


For Immediate Release


Advocates Respond: “Racism Doesn’t Put Food on the Table”

"You see what's happening, you see our inner cities, we spend billions and billions and billions for years and years and years, and it's stolen money and it's wasted money and it's a shame for decades. These communities have been run exclusively by Democrat politicians and it's been total one party control of the inner cities; for a hundred years has been one party control and look at them.”

— President Donald J. Trump, Cincinnati, August 1, 2019

Fact: Rural and small town households are more likely to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, than are metropolitan ones, according to a report based on Census data, by the Food Research and Action Center: https://frac.org/news/participation-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap-highest-rural-areas-small-towns-new-data-tool-reveals

Fact: Of the top 100 counties ranked by the share of population that participates in SNAP, 85 are rural, according to 2015 Census data, as reported by the Daily Yonder: https://www.dailyyonder.com/geography-food-stamps/2018/12/31/25422/

Fact: Some rural stores earn up to 30% of their income from SNAP, according to the Food Marketing Institute: https://www.dailyyonder.com/snap-plays-outsized-role-economy-rural-grocers/2017/08/04/20689/

Fact: Out of the 10 states with the highest percentage of their populations receiving SNAP, fully eight voted for Trump in the 2016 election:  https://www.hungerfreeamerica.org/blog/trump-voting-states-most-utilize-snap-food-stamps

Fact: Rural areas suffer from more food insecurity than metropolitan areas and have about as much food insecurity as “principal cities,” according to USDA: https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/90023/err-256.pdf?v=0

Fact: The rural poverty rate is higher than the urban poverty rate: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/six-charts-illustrate-divide-rural-urban-america

Fact: Of the 485 counties where 20 percent or more of the population has been living below the poverty line for the last 30 years, the vast majority are rural. In 2009, these counties were represented in Congress by 43 Democrats and 84 Republicans: https://www.majoritywhip.gov/?issues=10-20-30-formula

In response, Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide advocacy and direct service nonprofit organization, issued the following statement:

“By blasting ‘inner cities’ – and, by implication, non-white people – as uniquely impoverished and dependent on government funding, and by smearing Democratic elected officials – and, by implication, non-white elected officials – as solely responsible for such problems, President Trump is advancing a number of racist and partisan falsehoods. The facts demonstrate that persistent poverty is most endemic – and benefits usage is most prevalent – in rural America, much of which is mostly white. These areas tend to vote for and be governed by Republicans. This rhetoric is tied directly to Trump’s attempts to take food, housing, and health care away from struggling Americans. But the great irony is that Trump will be most hurting his own supporters, who are discovering that racism doesn’t put food on the table. The truth is that rural, urban – and even suburban – communities across America are suffering mightily from poverty, hunger, homelessness, and lack of economic opportunity, but empty speeches that fan the flames of division will only make it more difficult for the nation to effectively tackle these vital challenges.”



Nicole Aber