Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2008. Economic Security Risk Factor 7. Food Insecurity

12/20/2008

Figure ECON 7.
Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 2006

Figure ECON 7

Note:  Food secure households had consistent access to enough food for active, healthy lives for all household members at all times during the year.  Households with low food security obtained enough food to avoid substantial disruptions in eating patterns and food intake, using a variety of coping strategies, such as eating less varied diets, participating in Federal food assistance programs, or getting emergency food from community food pantries or emergency kitchens.  Households with very low food security reported reduced food intake of some household members and their normal eating patterns were disrupted because of the lack of money and other resources.

Source:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2006.


  • Figure ECON 7 shows the percentage of households that were food secure, had low food security, and had very low food security in 2006.  The majority of U.S. households (89.1 percent) was food secure in 2006; that is, they showed little or no evidence of concern about food supply or reduction in food intake.
  • Seven (6.9) percent of U.S. households experienced low food security and 4.0 percent were classified as having very low food security.  Very low food security is defined as having reduced food intake and having normal eating patterns disrupted because of financial constraints.
  • Table ECON 7a shows the percentage of households classified by food security status by selected demographic characteristics.
  • For households by age categories, households with elderly were more food secure (94.0 percent) than were households with children under six (83.3 percent) or households with children under 18 (84.4 percent).
  • There is a relationship between poverty and food security.  Sixty-four (63.7) percent of poor households were food secure compared to 66.9 percent of households below 130 percent of the poverty level, 72.7 percent of households below 185 percent of the poverty level, and 92.9 percent of households at or above 185 percent of the poverty level.
  • Married-couple households were less likely to experience food insecurity than female-headed households.  Ten (10.1) percent of married-couple households were food insecure in 2006 compared to 30.4 percent of female-headed households.
  • Table ECON 7b shows the percentage of households classified by food security status between 1998 and 2006.  The percentage of households with food insecurity (both low and very low food insecurity) has fluctuated over time from a low of 10.1 percent in 1999 to a high of 11.9 percent in 2004.

Table ECON 7a.
Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status and Selected Characteristics: 2006

  Food Secure Food Insecurity
All Low Very Low
Note:  Food secure households had consistent access to enough food for active, healthy lives for all household members at all times during the year. Households with low food security obtained enough food to avoid substantial disruptions in eating patterns and food intake, using a variety of coping strategies, such as eating less varied diets, participating in Federal food assistance programs, or getting emergency food from community food pantries or emergency kitchens.  Households with very low food security reported reduced food intake of some household members and their normal eating patterns were disrupted because of the lack of money and other resources.  Spouses are not present in the female-headed and male-headed household categories.

Race and ethnicity categories for households are determined by the race and ethnicity of the reference person for 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 households 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 households but are not shown separately.

Source:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2006.  Data are from the Current Population Survey, Food Security Supplement.

All Households 89.1 10.9 6.9 4.0
Racial/Ethnic Categories
Non-Hispanic White 92.2 7.8 4.8 3.1
Non-Hispanic Black 78.2 21.8 13.8 8.0
Hispanic 80.5 19.5 13.8 5.7
Age Categories
Households with children under 6 83.3 16.7 12.5 4.2
Households with children under 18 84.4 15.6 11.4 4.3
Households with elderly 94.0 6.0 4.1 1.8
Family Categories        
Married-couple households 89.9 10.1 8.0 2.1
Female-headed households 69.9 30.4 20.1 10.3
Male-headed households 83.0 17.0 12.7 4.2
Household Income-to-Poverty Ratio        
Under 1.00 63.7 36.3 21.5 14.8
Under 1.30 66.9 33.1 20.0 13.1
Under 1.85 72.7 27.3 16.6 10.7
1.85 and over 92.9 7.1 4.6 2.6

Table ECON 7b.
Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 1998-2006

  Food Secure Food Insecurity
All Low Very Low
Note:  Food secure households had consistent access to enough food for active, healthy lives for all household members at all times during the year. Households with low food security obtained enough food to avoid substantial disruptions in eating patterns and food intake, using a variety of coping strategies, such as eating less varied diets, participating in Federal food assistance programs, or getting emergency food from community food pantries or emergency kitchens.  Households with very low food security reported reduced food intake of some household members and their normal eating patterns were disrupted because of the lack of money and other resources.

Source:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2006.

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
2004 88.1 11.9 8.0 3.9
2005 89.0 11.0 7.0 3.9
2006 89.1 10.9 6.9 4.0

 

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