November 26, 2014

Slight Decrease in Household Food Insecurity

According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service, the percentage of American households that experienced food insecurity declined slightly from 2011 (14.9%) to 2013 (14.3%). During the same period, the number of households that experienced very low food security remained essentially the same (5.7% in 2011 and 5.6% in 2013). The report defines households with (1) “food insecurity” as those in which “access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources” and (2) “very low food security” as those in which “the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food.”  The chart below shows how these statistics have changed since 2000.

According to the report, the prevalence of (1) food insecurity ranged from 8.7% (North Dakota) to 21.2% (Arkansas) and (2) very low food security ranged from 3.1% (North Dakota) to 8.4% (Arkansas). For 2013, 13.4% of Connecticut’s population experienced food insecurity and 5.0% were, at times, very food insecure.

In a related USDA blog post, one of the researchers noted that households with children generally have higher rates of food insecurity than those without children. “Most parents try to protect their children from food insecurity to the extent they can. So in about half of these food-insecure households [with children], only adults were food insecure.” In 2013, approximately 0.9% of households with children (360,000 households) faced such severe food insecurity that the children had to skip a meal, go hungry, or not eat for a whole day because they had insufficient food.
Click here to read the full report.