Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1998. Economic Security Risk Factor 9. Food Insecurity

10/01/1998

Household food insecurity, including (at a severe level) direct hunger among children in the household, is related to general income poverty and is expected to affect children’s health, cognitive and social development, and general school success.

Figure ECON 9. Percentage of Households Classified as Food Insecure, 1995

Figure ECON 9. Percentage of Households Classified as Food Insecure, 1995

Source: Table ECON 9. See table for definition of food secure households.


  • A large majority (88 percent) of American households was food secure in the year ending April 1995. Food secure households show little or no evidence of concern about food supply or reduction in food intake.
  • About 11.9 million (of approximately 100 million) households experienced food insecurity - not being able to afford enough food - at some level during 1995. Most of the food insecure households were food insecure without hunger, meaning that although food insecurity was evident in their concerns and in adjustments to household food management, including reduced quality of diets, little or no reduction in food intake was reported.
  • About 4 percent of the 100 million households were classified as food insecure with hunger. Thus, one or more adult members of some 4.2 million households were estimated to have experienced reduced food intake and hunger as a result of financial constraints in the year ending April 1995.
  • About 800,000 households were classified as food insecure with severe hunger, meaning that children, as well as adults, experienced reduced food intake and hunger.

Table ECON 9. Percentage of Households Classified as Food Insecure, 1995

  Food Secure Food Insecure No Hunger Food Insecure Moderate Hunger Food Insecure Severe Hunger

Note: Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be any race. Food secure households show little or no evidence of concern about food supply or reduction in food intake. Households classified as food insecure without hunger report food-related concerns and adjustments to household food management but report little or no reduction in food intake. Households classified as food insecure with moderate hunger report reduced food intake and hunger among adults, while households are defined as food insecure with severe hunger if they report reduced food intake and hunger among children as well as adults.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis and Evaluation, Household Food Security in the United States in 1995.

All Households 88.1 7.8 3.3 0.8
Households with Children Under 6, by Race
White 82.6 13.1 3.6 0.6
Black 70.1 19.7 8.8 1.4
Hispanic 66.8 23.6 7.9 1.7
Other 79.4 14.1 4.0 2.6
Households with Children Under 18, by Race
White 84.6 11.1 3.6 0.7
Black 71.8 18.1 8.5 1.6
Hispanic 69.6 21.6 7.5 1.3
Other 81.1 12.6 4.7 1.6
Households with Elderly but no Children, by Race
White 95.3 3.2 1.3 0.2
Black 81.7 12.6 4.3 1.4
Hispanic 79.1 15.2 4.0 1.7
Other 87.7 7.8 3.6 0.9
Household Income-to-Poverty Ratio (all races and household types)
Under 0.50 58.4 24.6 12.1 4.9
Under 1.00 64.7 22.1 10.0 3.1
Under 1.30 68.1 20.0 9.3 2.6
Under 1.85 73.8 17.0 7.3 1.9
1.85 and over 95.8 2.8 1.2 0.2
Households with Children under 18 (all races)
Married-Couple Families 88.5 8.8 2.3 0.5
Female Head, No Spouse 64.7 22.9 10.3 2.0
Male Head, No Spouse 81.4 12.0 5.6 1.0
  • The prevalence of food insecurity is higher among non-white households than among white households. As shown in Table ECON 9, 10 percent of black and Hispanic households with children under six experience food insecurity with either moderate or severe hunger, compared with 4 percent of white households with children under six.
  • Households with an income-to-poverty ratio under 1.00 have a higher rate of food insecurity with moderate or severe hunger – 13 percent – than the 4 percent rate for the total population.
  • Female-headed households with children under 18 had a higher prevalence of food insecurity with moderate or severe hunger (12 percent) than male-headed families (7 percent) or married-couple families (3 percent).

View full report

Preview
Download

"Introduction" (pdf, 47.84Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Indicators of Dependence" (pdf, 152.45Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt (First Half)" (pdf, 158.1Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt (Second Half)" (pdf, 150.06Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Appendices (First Half)" (pdf, 182.84Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Appendices (Second Half)" (pdf, 289.7Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®