Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2009-2013. Economic Security Risk Factor 7. Food Insecurity

04/01/2013

Figure ECON 7. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 2009

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, 2009.

  • Figure ECON 7 shows the percentage of households that were food secure, had low food security, and had very low food security in 2009. The majority of U.S. households (85.3 percent) were food secure in 2009; that is, they showed little or no evidence of concern about food supply or reduction in food intake.
  • Nine percent of U.S. households experienced low food security and 5.7 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. The percentage of households reporting very low food security remained the same between 2008 and 2009.
  • Table ECON 7a shows the percentage of households classified by food security status by selected demographic characteristics. Households with elderly were more food secure (92.5 percent) than were households with children under six (77.1 percent) or households with children under 18 (78.7 percent).
  • There is a relationship between poverty and food security. Fifty-seven percent of poor households were food secure compared to 60.3 percent of households with income below 130 percent of the poverty level, and 65.2 percent of households below 185 percent of the poverty level.
  • Married-couple households with children were less likely to experience food insecurity than female-headed households with children. Almost 15 percent (14.7) percent of married-couple households with children were food insecure in 2009 compared to 36.6 percent of female-headed households with children.
  • Table ECON 7b shows the percentage of households classified by food security status between 1998 and 2009. The percentage of households with food insecurity (both low and very low food insecurity) has fluctuated since 1998 from a low of 10.1 percent in 1999 to a high of 14.7 percent in 2009.

Table ECON 7a. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status and Selected Characteristics: 2009

Food Insecurity
  Food Secure
All Low Very Low
All Households 85.3 14.7 9.0 5.7
Racial/Ethnic Categories
Non-Hispanic White 89.0 11.0 6.5 4.6
Non-Hispanic Black 75.1 24.9 15.6 9.3
Hispanic 73.1 26.9 17.6 9.3
Age Categories
Households with children under 6 77.1 22.9 16.5 6.5
Households with children under 18 78.7 21.3 14.7 6.6
Households with elderly 92.5 7.5 4.9 2.6
Family Categories
Married-couple households with children 85.3 14.7 10.7 4.0
Female-headed households with children 63.4 36.6 23.7 12.9
Male-headed households with children 72.2 27.8 19.5 8.3
Household Income-to-Poverty Ratio
Under 1.00 57.0 43.0 24.4 18.5
Under 1.30 60.3 39.7 22.7 17.0
Under 1.85 65.2 34.8 20.4 14.4
1.85 and over 92.4 7.6 4.9 2.7

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. 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, 2009.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err108.... Data are from the Current Population Survey, Food Security Supplement.

Table ECON 7b. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 1998-2009

  Food Secure Food Insecurity
All Low Very Low
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 7.1 3.9
2006 89.1 10.9 6.9 4.0
2007 88.9 11.1 7.0 4.1
2008 85.4 14.6 8.9 5.7
2009 85.3 14.7 9.0 5.7

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, 2009.

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