Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2005 . Economic Security Risk Factor 7. Food Insecurity

08/30/2005

Figure ECON 7. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 2003

Figure ECON 7. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 2003

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2003.

  • A large majority (89 percent) of American households was food secure in 2003 – that is, showed little or no evidence of concern about food supply or reduction in food intake.
  • The prevalence of food insecurity with hunger in 2003 was estimated to be 3.5 percent. During the twelve months ending in December 2003, one or more members of these households experienced reduced food intake and hunger at times during the year as a result of financial constraints. Food insecurity would be lower if measured over a monthly basis.
  • An additional 7.7 percent of households experienced food insecurity, but were without hunger, during the twelve months ending in December 2003. Although these households showed signs of food insecurity in their concerns and in adjustments to household food management, little or no reduction in food intake was reported.
  • Poor households have a higher rate of food insecurity with hunger (12.6 percent) than the 3.5 percent rate among the general population, as shown in Table ECON 7a. Only 1.2 percent of families with incomes at or above 185 percent of the poverty level showed evidence of food insecurity with hunger.

Table ECON 7a. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status and Selected Characteristics: 2003

  Food Secure Food Insecure Total
Food Insecure
without Hunger
Food Insecure
with Hunger
All Households 88.8 11.2 7.7 3.5
Racial/Ethnic Categories
Non-Hispanic White 92.2 7.8 5.1 2.7
Non-Hispanic Black 77.9 22.1 15.3 6.8
Hispanic 77.7 22.3 16.9 5.4
Households, by Age
Households with Children under 6 82.5 17.5 13.9 3.6
Households with Children under 18 83.3 16.7 12.8 3.8
Households with Elderly 94.0 6.0 4.3 1.7
Household Income-to-Poverty Ratio
Under 1.00 64.9 35.1 22.5 12.6
Under 1.30 67.5 32.5 21.2 11.3
Under 1.85 71.4 28.6 18.8 9.7
1.85 and over 95.1 4.9 3.7 1.2

Note: 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, adjustments to household food management, and reduced variety and desirability of diet, but report little or no reduction in food intake. Households classified as food insecure with hunger report recurring reductions in food intake or hunger by one or more persons in the household.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2003. Data are from the Current Population Survey, Food Security Supplement.

Table ECON 7b. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 1998-2003

  Food Secure Food Insecure Total
Food Insecure
without Hunger
Food Insecure
with Hunger
1998 88.2 11.8 8.1 3.7
1999 89.9 10.1 7.1 3.0
2000 89.5 10.5 7.3 3.1
2001 89.3 10.7 7.4 3.3
2002 88.9 11.1 7.6 3.5
2003 88.8 11.2 7.7 3.5

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2003.

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