Overview

USDA's National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) is the first nationally representative survey of American households to collect unique and comprehensive data about household food purchases and acquisitions. Detailed information was collected about foods purchased or otherwise acquired for consumption at home and away from home, including foods acquired through food and nutrition assistance programs. The survey includes nationally representative data from 4,826 households, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households, low-income households not participating in SNAP, and higher income households.


The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), with support from USDA's Economic Research Service and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), is organizing a new two-year research initiative consisting of ten distinct projects that will leverage the FoodAPS data set to address issues related to food security, nutrition, and health in the United States. For the full request for proposals, see Call for Proposals: NBER Project on the Economics of Food Security, Nutrition, and Health: Insights from FoodAPS. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

The University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research (UKCPR), in cooperation with ERS, will competitively award grants to qualified individuals and institutions to provide rigorous research that utilizes FoodAPS to expand our understanding of household food behaviors and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Research issues of interest include: benefit adequacy, diet quality, cost of a healthy diet, and food security, and the role of the local food environment and other geographic factors. In addition to the FoodAPS data, geographically-linked data on the local food environment and food prices compiled as part of the FoodAPS Geography Component (FoodAPS-GC) are available for awardees. It is anticipated that about 3 grants of up to $50,000 each will be awarded. See the call for proposals, FoodAPS Research Initiative: Understanding SNAP, Food Security, and Geographic Factors in Food Purchase and Acquisition Decisions. Deadline: March 31, 2016.


FoodAPS provides information about household size and composition, available resources (including food and nutrition assistance program benefits, if any), and acquired food items (and their prices). This information, combined with data about the food items and prices that are accessible to each household, provides a robust dataset for research studies that support the design and implementation of policies and regulations affecting America’s food and nutrition assistance programs. For a more detailed description of the survey, see Background.

ERS and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of USDA jointly sponsored FoodAPS. Mathematica Policy Research, a private research firm with experience conducting large-scale data collections, designed and implemented the survey. The Main Variable List contains the variables included in the data files. These include the household-level and individual-level interview files, the food-at-home (FAH) and food-away-from-home (FAFH) event files, the FAH and FAFH item files, data from the Meals and Snacks form, a summary of the individual daily reporting status, household access to FAFH outlets and SNAP-authorized FAH retailers, a file containing each unique geocoded acquisition place, and estimates of household SNAP eligibility. A User's Guide, providing an overview of the survey and data sets as well as general notes about using the data, is also available.

    Data Set    
    Downloads Last Updated Next Update
    Variable List and Codebooks Back to top
    Main Variable List Download as Excel 2/10/2016
    User's Guide to Survey Design, Data Collection, and Datasets Download as PDF 2/10/2016
    Household Level Codebook Download as PDF 2/25/2015
    Individual Level Codebook Download as PDF 2/25/2015
    Household screening tools Back to top
    Household screener 1 Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Household screener 2 Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Participation followup letter Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Household food books Back to top
    Adult food book Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Primary respondent book Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Youth food book Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Call in schedule Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Telephone interview Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    In-person interviews Back to top
    Initial visit script Download as PDF 1/15/2014
    Initial interview Download as PDF 5/28/2014
    Income worksheet Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Final interview Download as PDF 12/11/2013
    Respondent feedback form Back to top
    Respondent feedback form Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Meals and snacks form Back to top
    Meals and snacks form Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Survey confidentiality forms Back to top
    Confidentiality form Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Confidentiality agreement Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Participant consent form Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Privacy pledge Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Geographic component Back to top
    Retail Environment Study codebook Back to top
    Retail Environment Study codebook Download as PDF   Download file 7/22/2014
    Variable List-GC Back to top
    Variable List-GC Download as PDF   Download file 7/22/2014
    Training manuals Back to top
    Telephone interviewer manual Download as PDF 4/14/2014
    Field interviewer manual Download as PDF 4/14/2014
    General information Back to top
    Informational brochure Download as PDF 9/5/2013
    Informational postcard Download as PDF 9/5/2013

    Last updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    For more information contact: Elina Tselepidakis and John A. Kirlin

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