This page lists key publications and resources on the following topics:
Household Food Security
Community Food Security
Household Food Security: Annual Reports
Household Food Security in the United States in 2012—An estimated 85.5 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2012, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. This report, based on data from the December 2012 food security survey, provides the most recent statistics on the food security of U.S. households as well as on how much they spent for food and the extent to which food-insecure households participated in Federal and community food assistance programs (September 2013).
Statistical Supplement to Household Food Security in the United States in 2012
Earlier annual reports in this series:
Household Food Security in the United States in 2011 (September 2012)
Statistical Supplement to Household Food Security in the United States in 2011 (September 2012)
Household Food Security in the United States in 2010 (September 2011)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2009 (November 2010)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 (November 2009)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2007 (November 2008)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2006 (November 2007)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2005 (November 2006)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2004 (October 2005)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2003 (October 2004)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2002 (October 2003)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2001 (October 2002)
Household Food Security in the United States, 2000 (March 2002)
Household Food Security in the United States, 1999 (September 2000)
Household Food Security in the United States, 1998 and 1999: Detailed Statistical Report (June 2002)
Household Food Security in the United States, 1995-1998: Advance Report 16x16 - PDF (July 1999)
Household Food Security in the United States in 1995: Summary Report of the Food Security Measurement Project 16x16 - PDF —Describes the development of the U.S. Household Food Security Scale and provides the first national assessment of household food security in the United States (September 1997).
Household Food Security: Technical Reports and Survey Tools
Assessing Potential Technical Enhancements to the U.S. Household Food Security Measures—Based on recommendations by a panel convened by the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies, this report assesses five potential technical enhancements to the methods USDA uses to measure household food security. The study findings suggest that introducing more complex statistical models would improve measurement of food security little, if at all, while making results and methods more difficult to explain to policy officials and the public (December 2012).
Does Interview Mode Matter for Food Security Measurement? Telephone versus In-Person Interviews in the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement—This article demonstrates that telephone and in-person food security interviews in the Current Population Survey are comparable with small, or at most modest, differences. Mark Nord and Heather Hopwood, "Does Interview Mode Matter for Food Security Measurement? Telephone versus In-Person Interviews in the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement," Public Health Nutrition 10 (12): 1474-80 (August 2007).
Food Insecurity and Hunger in the United States: An Assessment of the Measure—An extensive review was conducted at USDA's request by an independent panel of experts convened by the National Research Council's Committee on National Statistics to ensure that USDA's data collection and methodology in the areas of food security and hunger are relevant and scientifically sound (2006).
Food Security of Older Children Can Be Assessed by Using a Standardized Survey Instrument—This article describes the development and assessment of a food security survey module adapted for self-administration by children 12 and older. Questions were adapted from the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module, refined through focus groups and cognitive interviews, and tested in a pilot survey. The abstract is available from the American Society for Nutrition. The questionnaire 16x16 - PDF is available on this site. Carol L. Connell, Mark Nord, Kristi L. Lofton, and Kathy Yadrick, "Food Security of Older Children Can Be Assessed Using a Standardized Survey Instrument," The Journal of Nutrition 134:2566-72 (2004).
Spanish Translation of the Food Security Survey Module—A Spanish translation of the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module developed by UCLA researchers is available from the Journal of Nutrition, the American Society for Nutrition. See " Development of a Spanish-Language Version of the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module" (April 2003). USDA researchers revised and adapted UCLA’s earlier translation and recommend this Spanish translation of the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module for use among Spanish-speaking populations within the United States (see U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module—Spanish 16x16 - PDF ).
A 30-Day Food Security Scale for Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement Data—This report describes and assesses a 30-day household food security scale that can be applied specifically to the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (CPS-FSS) data collected between 1995 and 2004. The report specifies procedures for calculating the revised 30-day scale from CPS-FSS data and classifying households as to 30-day food security status (August 2002).
Household Food Security in the United States, 1998 and 1999: Technical Report—This report explores key technical issues related to Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement data, focusing especially on the August 1998 and April 1999 surveys. Technical issues include the estimation of standard errors, the effect of alternating survey periods between spring and fall for the 1995-99 CPS Supplement, and the effect of using different Item Response Theory (IRT) modeling approaches and software to create the food security scale (June 2002).
Measuring Children's Food Security in U.S. Households, 1995-99—This report describes the Children's Food Security Scale developed by USDA and presents statistics on the prevalence of hunger among children in U.S. households for the years 1995-99 as well as for subgroups defined by household structure, race and ethnicity, income, and rural/urban residence. The report provides detailed information on how to implement the scale in other surveys (April 2002).
Guide to Measuring Household Food Security, Revised 2000 16x16 - PDF —Provides detailed guidance for researchers on how to use the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module to measure household food security and food insecurity at various levels of severity. Statistics from surveys that use these methods will be directly comparable with published national statistics (March 2002).
Household Food Security in the United States, 1995-1997: Technical Issues and Statistical Report 16x16 - PDF and Executive Summary—This report examines the stability of the food security measurement scale over time and across different types of households, the thresholds used to classify households as to their food security status, screening issues related to ensuring comparability of food security statistics among the 1995-97 CPS food security supplements, and alternative imputation strategies for dealing with missing data (December 2001).
Second Food Security Measurement and Research Conference, Volume I: Proceedings and Volume II: Papers—This two-volume set documents the Second Food Security Measurement and Research Conference (February 23-24, 1999) that sought to establish a stable measurement strategy to monitor the food security status of the U.S. population. Volume I contains abbreviated proceedings of all presentations. Volume II contains a set of research papers that provide further detail on the research findings presented at the conference (February 2001).
Household Food Security in the United States in 1995: Technical Report of the Food Security Measurement Project 16x16 - PDF —Describes the analysis through which the food security scales and food security status variable were developed, as well as related tests of the reliability and validity of these measures (September 1997).
Household Food Security: Articles and Research Reports
Food Insecurity and SNAP Use Among Immigrant Families With Children During the Economic Downturn 16x16 - PDF —This study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research with funding from the Economic Research Service, compared food insecurity and SNAP use by immigrant and non-immigrant households with children, using Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement data. The study also compared food insecurity and SNAP use by immigrant households with children across States with differing policies that may affect immigrants' access to the program (2013).
To What Extent is Food Insecurity in U.S. Households Frequent or Persistent?—A measure of frequent or persistent food insecurity is calculated from responses to follow-up questions in the food security survey that asked respondents how often each indicator of food insecurity occurred. The Frequent Food Insecurity Scale provides a richer picture of the prevalence of various temporal patterns of food insecurity than can be provided by the current standard measures. Mark Nord, "To What Extent is Food Insecurity in U.S. Households Frequent or Persistent?," Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 8(2): 109-127 (2013).
Food Insecurity in U.S. Households Rarely Persists Over Many Years—This Amber Waves article summarizes two ERS-commissioned studies that examined patterns of food insecurity in households interviewed periodically over an extent of time of 5 years or more. Both studies found spells of food insecurity to be generally of short duration. A considerably larger number of households are exposed to food insecurity at some time over a period of several years than are food insecure in any single year (June 2013).
Food Insecurity Among Households With Working-Age Adults With Disabilities—This study examines the effects of disabilities on household food security, using newly available data on disabilities among adults from the Current Population Survey. The research considers both adults who are unable to work due to their disabilities, and adults with disabilities that do not necessarily prevent employment. The study findings demonstrate the importance of disabilities as a determinant of food insecurity (January 2013).
Nonstandard Work and Food Insecurity Across Household Structure—This study investigates the relationship between the work status of the household head and household food insecurity utilizing the CPS-FSS. Households where the head has multiple jobs and works varied or part-time hours are more likely to be food insecure than households with a head in a regular full-time job, even when controlling for income and other socio-demographic characteristics. Alisha Coleman-Jensen, "Working for Peanuts: Nonstandard Work and Food Insecurity Across Household Structure," Journal of Family and Economic Issues 32(1): 84-97 (2011).
In longitudinal data from the Survey of Program Dynamics, 16.9% of the U.S. population was exposed to household food insecurity in a five-year period—This article examines changes in households' food security over a five-year period, estimating the extent of persistent food insecurity and the proportion of households that were food insecure at any time during the period. Parke E. Wilde, Mark Nord, and Rober E. Zager, "In longitudinal data from the survey of Program Dynamics, 16.9% of the U.S. population was exposed to household food insecurity in a five-year period," Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 5(3): 380-398, (2010).
Food Spending Declined and Food Insecurity Increased for Middle-Income and Low-Income Households from 2000 to 2007—This report describes changes in food spending and food insecurity from 2000 to 2007 based on data from two nationally representative surveys. Declines in food spending and deterioration in food security were greatest in the second-lowest income quintile (October 2009).
What Should the Government Mean by Hunger?—This article, based on nationally representative survey data, describes how the voting public thinks the word "hunger" should be used in government reports. Mark Nord, Max Finberg, James McLaughlin, Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 4(1):20-47 (2009).
A Comparison of Household Food Security in Canada and the United States—Describes associations of food security with economic and demographic characteristics of households in Canada and the United States based on nationally representative surveys in the two countries. The national-level difference in food insecurity reflects primarily different rates of food insecurity for Canadian and U.S. households with similar demographic and economic characteristics. Differences in population composition on measured economic and demographic characteristics account for only about 15 to 30 percent of the overall Canada-U.S. difference (December 2008).
Household-Level Income-Related Food Insecurity Is Less Prevalent in Canada Than in the United States—This article examines differences between Canada and the United States in the prevalence and distribution of household-level income-related food insecurity. Mark Nord, Michelle D. Hooper, and Heather Hopwood, "Household-Level Income-Related Food Insecurity Is Less Prevalent in Canada Than in the United States," Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 3 (1):17-35 (2008).
Struggling to Feed the Family: What Does it Mean to Be Food Insecure?—This article in Amber Waves describes hardships that some households face in meeting their food needs and the relationship between food insecurity and income, household characteristics, State economic conditions, and State policies (June 2007).
Characteristics of Low-Income Households With Very Low Food Security: An Analysis of the USDA GPRA Food Security Indicator—Describes characteristics of low-income households that had very low food security in 2005. Under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), USDA monitors the food security of low-income households to assess how effectively domestic nutrition assistance programs meet the needs of their target populations (May 2007).
Dynamics of Poverty and Food Sufficiency—This study examines dynamics in poverty and food insufficiency using longitudinal data from the 1993 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and the follow-on Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD) (September 2003).
Putting Food on the Table: Household Food Security in the United States—This Amber Waves article describes the prevalence of food security and food insecurity in U.S. households in 2001 and trends in these statistics since 1995 (February 2003).
Frequency and Duration of Food Insecurity and Hunger in U.S. Households—This is the first nationally representative study of the extent to which food insecurity is frequent, recurring, or occasional in U.S. households. Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews, and Joshua Winicki, "Frequency and Duration of Food Insecurity and Hunger in U.S. Households," Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 34:194-201 (September 2002).
Food Insecurity in Higher Income Households—This study examines middle- and high-income households to determine the extent to which these households were food insecure and what proportion may have been incorrectly identified as food insecure because of measurement problems. A small proportion, at most, of measured food insecurity among middle- and high-income households appears to be due to misunderstanding of questions or erratic responses. Some households in these income groups are food insecure due to factors such as uneven incomes or changes in household composition during the year or to the existence of multiple economic units in the same household (September 2002).
Reducing Food Insecurity in the United States: Assessing Progress Toward a National Objective—Assesses progress toward the U.S. Government's Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing the rate of food insecurity in the Nation to half of its 1995 level by 2010 (May 2002).
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps
Effects of the Decline in the Real Value of SNAP Benefits From 2009 to 2011—This report estimates the extent to which food price inflation has eroded improvement in the food security of SNAP recipients that followed the April 1, 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)'s mandated increase in monthly benefits. The report finds that more households were unable to obtain adequate food as food-price inflation reduced the value of SNAP benefits from 2009-11 (August 2013).
How much does SNAP Alleviate Food Insecurity? Evidence from Recent Program Leavers—This study estimates the effect of SNAP on the food security of recipients, net of the effect of self-selection of more food-needy households into the program. The results are consistent with, or somewhat higher than, the estimates from the strongest previous research designs and suggest that the ameliorative effect of SNAP on very low food security is in the range of 20-50 percent. Mark Nord, "How much does the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program alleviate food insecurity? Evidence from recent programme leavers," Public Health Nutrition 15(5): 811-817 (2011).
Food Security Improved Following the 2009 ARRA Increase in SNAP Benefits—The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (also known as the "stimulus package") increased benefit levels for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) and expanded SNAP eligibility for jobless adults without children. This study examines the extent to which the SNAP enhancements provided by ARRA improved the food security of low-income households (April 2011).
Food Insecurity after Leaving SNAP—This article examines the food security of households that had recently left SNAP to determine why some households left SNAP even though they had unmet food needs without assistance from that program. Mark Nord and Alisha Coleman-Jensen, "Food Insecurity after Leaving SNAP," Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 5(4): 434-453 (2010).
How Much Does SNAP Reduce Food Insecurity?—Nearly 15 percent of all U.S. households and 39 percent of near-poor households were food insecure in 2008. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) serves as the first line of defense against food-related hardship such as food insecurity. This report estimates SNAP's effectiveness in reducing food insecurity, based on panel data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (2010).
Does SNAP Decrease Food Insecurity? Untangling the Self-Selection Effect—This study investigates self-selection by more needy households into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and ameliorative program effects. Food security is observed to deteriorate in the 6 months prior to beginning to receive SNAP benefits and to improve shortly after. These results clearly demonstrate the self-selection by households into SNAP at a time when they are more severely food insecure. The results are consistent with a moderate ameliorative effect of SNAP (October 2009).
The Food Stamp Program and Food Insufficiency—This study examines the extent to which higher food insufficiency rates of food stamp participants are due to adverse selection-the self selection of more food-needy households into the Food Stamp Program. When adverse selection is taken into account, food stamp recipients have the same probability of food insufficiency as nonrecipients. Craig Gundersen and Victor Oliveira, "The Food Stamp Program and Food Insufficiency," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 83(4):875-887 (January 2002).
Food Stamp Participation and Food Security 16x16 - PDF —This Food Review article assesses whether the decline in Food Stamp Program participation by low-income households in the late 1990s was due in part to their having found it more difficult or less socially acceptable to get food stamps (January 2001).
Youth Are Less Likely to be Food Insecure than Adults in the Same Household—This study compares self-reported personal food insecurity of youth (ages 12–17) and adults in the same or similar households using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. Youth are found to be considerably less likely to be food insecure than adults in the same household, and the youth–adult difference is greater when food insecurity is assessed at a severe level. Mark Nord, "Youth Are Less Likely to be Food Insecure than Adults in the Same Household," Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 8(2): 146-163 (2013).
Food Insecurity in Households With Children: Prevalence, Severity, and Household Characteristics, 2010-11—One in five households with children were food insecure sometime during 2011, meaning that they did not have consistent access to adequate food for active, healthy lives for all household members. Numerous studies suggest that children in food-insecure households have higher risks of health and development problems than children in otherwise similar food-secure households. This report examines the prevalence and severity of food insecurity in households with children by selected household characteristics (May 2013).
Caregiver Reports of Adolescents' Food Security and Adolescents' Own Reports—In this study of 395 adolescents ages 15 to 17 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, adolescents' self-reported food insecurity was more common than, and only weakly associated with, adult proxy reports of those adolescents' food insecurity. Mark Nord and Karla Hanson, "Adult Caregiver Reports of Adolescents' Food Security Do Not Agree Well with Adolescents' Own Reports," Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 7(4): 363-380 (2012).
How Adequately Are Food Needs of Children in Low-Income Households Being Met?—This article in Children and Youth Service Review provides an overview of research and statistics on the extent and severity of food insecurity in low-income households with children. The research evidence on the determinants of food insecurity and its consequences for children's health and development is also summarized. Mark Nord and Lynn Parker, "How Adequately Are Food Needs of Children in Low-Income Households Being Met?," Children and Youth Service Review 32 (9):1175-85 (2010).
Food Insecurity in Households with Children: Prevalence, Severity, and Household Characteristics—Nearly 16 percent of households with children were food insecure sometime during 2007, meaning that they did not have consistent access to adequate food for active, healthy lives for all household members. Numerous studies suggest that children in food-insecure households have higher risks of health and development problems than children in otherwise similar food-secure households. In 2007, Federal food and nutrition assistance programs provided benefits to four out of five low-income, food-insecure households with children (September 2009).
Measuring Children's Food Security—This article in the Journal of Nutrition describes the development of, and recent improvements in, methods for measuring children's food security. Mark Nord and Heather Hopwood, "Recent Advances Provide Improved Tools for Measuring Children's Food Security," Journal of Nutrition 137:533-36 (2007).
Hunger in the Summer: Seasonal Food Insecurity and the National School Lunch and Summer Food Service Programs—This article examines the effects of summertime meals provided by the National School Lunch and Summer Food Service programs on household food insecurity. Seasonal differences-higher prevalence of food insecurity in the summer-were greater for households with school-age children than for other households. Mark Nord and Kathleen Romig, "Hunger in the Summer: Seasonal Food Insecurity and the National School Lunch and Summer Food Service Programs," Journal of Children and Poverty 12(2): 141-58 (2006).
Food Assistance Research Brief: Food Insecurity in Households With Children—This brief examines the extent to which the diets and eating patterns of American children are disrupted because their families cannot always afford enough food (July 2003).
Hunger: Its Impact on Children's Health and Mental Health—This study examines the independent contribution of child hunger on children's physical and mental health and academic functioning after controlling for a range of environmental, maternal, and other factors that are associated with poor health among children. Using standardized tools, comprehensive demographic, psychosocial, and health data were collected in Worcester, MA, from homeless mothers and their children and for housed low-income mothers and their children. Linda Weinreb, Cheryl Webler, Jennifer Perloff, Richard Schott, David Hosmer, Linda Sagor, and Craig Gundersen, "Hunger: Its Impact on Children's Health and Mental Health," Pediatrics 110(4):e41-e49 (October 2002).
Seasonal Variation in Food Insecurity Is Associated with Heating and Cooling Costs among Low-Income Elderly Americans—This article examines the association between household food insecurity and seasonally high heating and cooling costs. Low-income households, especially those consisting entirely of elderly persons, experienced substantial seasonal differences in the incidence of very low food security (the more severe range of food insecurity) in areas with high winter heating costs and high summer cooling costs. Mark Nord and Linda S. Kantor, "Seasonal Variation in Food Insecurity is Associated with Heating and Cooling Costs among Low-Income Elderly Americans," The Journal of Nutrition 136: 2939-44 (2006).
Measuring the Food Security of Elderly Persons 16x16 - PDF —This article in Family Economics and Nutrition Review assesses the appropriateness of the U.S. Food Security Scale for measuring the food security of elderly people. Based on analysis of 3 years of data from the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement, the findings indicate that the Food Security Scale fairly represents the food security status of the elderly compared with that of the nonelderly (2003).
Food Security Rates Are High for Elderly Households 16x16 - PDF —Households that include elderly persons are generally more food secure than other U.S. households. Rates of food insecurity and hunger among households consisting entirely of elderly people remained almost unchanged from 1995 (September 2002).
States and Rural Areas
Food Insecurity Across Nonmetropolitan, Suburban, and Principal City Residence Areas During the Great Recession—Food insecurity increased in all residence areas with the "Great Recession" beginning in 2007, with the greatest increase in suburbs. Net of income and other household characteristics, suburban households were more likely to be food insecure than nonmetropolitan households and as likely to be food insecure as principal city households. Alisha Coleman-Jensen, "Predictors of U.S. Food Insecurity Across Nonmetropolitan, Suburban, and Principal City Residence During the Great Recession," Journal of Poverty 16(4): 392-411 (2012).
What Factors Account for State-to-State Differences in Food Security?—This report describes State-level and household-level factors associated with State prevalence rates of food insecurity. Most of the interstate differences in food insecurity are accounted for by these two factors (November 2006).
State-Level Predictors of Food Insecurity and Hunger Among Households With Children 16x16 - PDF —Almost all of the observed interstate differences in food security of households with children can be explained by cross-State differences in measurable demographic and contextual characteristics (October 2005).
Explaining Variations in State Hunger Rates 16x16 - PDF —This article in Family Economics and Nutrition Review examines the effects of State-level economic and demographic characteristics on State-level prevalence rates of food insecurity and food insecurity with hunger. Most of the State-to-State differences in food insecurity are explained by high costs of housing, seasonally high unemployment, high poverty rates, high residential mobility, and a high proportion of children in the State population (2004).
Rates of Food Insecurity and Hunger Unchanged in Rural Households 16x16 - PDF —Compares food security in nonmetropolitan and metropolitan households in 2000 and describes trends in food security in nonmetropolitan households from 1998 to 2000 (Winter 2002).
Household Food Security in the Rural South: Assuring Access to Enough Food for Healthy Lives—This policy brief, published by the Southern Rural Development Center in the series "The Rural South: Preparing for the Challenges of the 21st Century," examines the prevalence of food insecurity in households in the rural South in 1998 and 1999 (August 2001).
Prevalence of Hunger Declines in Rural Households 16x16 - PDF —Compares food security in nonmetropolitan and metropolitan households in 1998 and describes trends in food security in nonmetropolitan households from 1995 to 1998 (2000).
Prevalence of Food Insecurity and Hunger, by State, 1996-1998—USDA's baseline report on food security prevalence rates by State. Averaged over 3 years, the prevalence of food insecurity exceeded the national average rate in 11 States and the District of Columbia, was below the national average in 20 States, and was at or near the national average in the remaining 19 States (September 1999).
New Indicator Reveals Similar Levels of Food Security in Rural and Urban Households, Rural Conditions and Trends 16x16 - PDF —Compares food security in nonmetropolitan and metropolitan households in 1995 (February 1999).
Community Food Security: Articles and Reports
Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit—This report provides a toolkit of standardized measurement tools for assessing various aspects of community food security, including a general guide to community assessment and materials for examining six basic assessment components. These include guides for profiling general community characteristics and community food resources as well as materials for assessing household food security, food resource accessibility, food availability and affordability, and community food production resources (July 2002).
Community Food Security Programs Improve Food Access 16x16 - PDF —This article examines how community-based efforts, such as farmers markets, food cooperatives, community-supported agriculture, farm-to-school initiatives, and community gardens, complement Federal food assistance programs (January 2001).