Food Insecurity

Food Insecurity exists in every county and congressional district in the United States
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Data and Image from USDA ERS website (2016)

Food insecurity is defined as not having reliable access to adequate nutritious food. Those that experience food insecurity may not necessarily be insecure at all times during the year– often times families are forced to choose between paying bills or other expenses like buying medicine, and buying groceries to feed themselves and their families.

1 in 7 Americans struggles to get enough to eat

Hunger issues that people face are intertwined with many other prominent issues in this country. Hunger and access to healthy foods play a large roll in rates of chronic health problem like diabetes and heart disease, as well as many more. Minorities, children, the elderly, and those living in rural areas are statistically more likely to suffer from food insecurity.

17 percent of rural households are food insecure

Compared to an average of 15.4% food insecure nationwide overall, rural areas are more highly affected. Rates of unemployment and underemployment are higher in rural areas and education levels are lower. Transportation and affordable child care options are also more limited.

How Are Food Security and Insecurity Measured?
USDA USDA introduced the labels below for ranges of food security in 2006. For most reporting purposes, USDA describes households with high or marginal food security as food secure and those with low or very low food security as food insecure.
The food security status of each household lies somewhere along a continuum extending from high food security to very low food security. This continuum is divided into four ranges, characterized as follows:
  1. High food securityHouseholds had no problems, or anxiety about, consistently accessing adequate food.
  2. Marginal food security—Households had problems at times, or anxiety about, accessing adequate food, but the quality, variety, and quantity of their food intake were not substantially reduced.
  3. Low food security—Households reduced the quality, variety, and desirability of their diets, but the quantity of food intake and normal eating patterns were not substantially disrupted.
  4. Very low food security—At times during the year, eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake reduced because the household lacked money and other resources for food.
Additional Resources

To find nationwide as well as specific local statistics, information on how food insecurity affects different groups of people, and much more please visit Feeding America or check out the USDA’s research on food insecurity.

To learn more about how hunger affects children nationwide please visit No Kid Hungry