Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Fourteenth Report to Congress. Economic Security Risk Factor 7. Food Insecurity

09/22/2015

Figure ECON 7.  Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 2012

Figure ECON 7.  Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 2012

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, 2012.


  •  Figure ECON 7 shows the percentage of households that were food secure, had low food security, and had very low food security in 2012.  The majority of U.S. households (85.5 percent) were food secure in 2012; that is, they had consistent, dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living.
  • Fifteen (14.5) percent of U.S. households experienced low food security, including 5.7 percent who 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 due to a lack of resources.  After increasing from 2007 to 2008, the percentage of households reporting low and very low food security has remained virtually unchanged from 2008 to 2012.   
  • Table ECON 7a shows the percentage of households classified by food security status and by selected demographic characteristics.  Households with elderly were more food secure (91.2 percent) than were households with children under six (79.5 percent) or households with children under 18 (80.0 percent).
  • Food insecurity increases as poverty increases.  Ninety-three (93.2) percent of households above 185 percent of the poverty level were food secure while 61.8 percent of households below 130 percent of the poverty level were food secure.  Among poor households, 59.1 percent were food secure. 
  • Married-couple households with children were less likely to experience food insecurity than were female-headed households with children.  Thirteen percent (13.2) percent of married-couple households with children were food insecure in 2012 compared to 35.4 percent of female-headed households with children. 
  • Table ECON 7b shows the percentage of households classified by food security status between 1998 and 2012. The percentage of households with food insecurity (both low and very low food insecurity) has ranged from a low of 10.1 percent in 1999 to a high of 14.9 percent in 2011.

Table ECON 7a.  Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status and Selected Characteristics: 2012

 

 

Food Secure

Food Insecurity

All

Low

Very Low

All Households

85.5

14.5

8.8

5.7

Racial/Ethnic Categories

  Non-Hispanic White

88.8

11.2

6.6

4.6

  Non-Hispanic Black

75.4

24.6

14.3

10.4

  Hispanic

76.7

23.3

15.8

7.4

Age Categories

  Households with children under 6

79.5

20.5

15.1

5.5

  Households with children under 18

80.0

20.0

14.0

6.0

  Households with elderly

91.2

8.8

5.3

3.5

Family Categories

  Married-couple households with children

86.8

13.2

9.9

3.3

  Female-headed households with children

64.6

35.4

22.7

12.7

  Male-headed households with children

76.4

23.6

17.3

6.3

Household Income-to-Poverty Ratio

  Under 1.00

59.1

40.9

22.7

18.2

  Under 1.30

61.8

38.2

21.5

16.7

  Under 1.85

65.7

34.3

19.8

14.5

  1.85 and over

93.2

6.8

4.5

2.3

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, 2012.  http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err108.aspx.   Data are from the Current Population Survey, Food Security Supplement.


Table ECON 7b.  Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 1998-2012

 

 

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

2010

85.5

14.5

9.1

5.4

2011

85.1

14.9

9.2

5.7

2012

85.5

14.5

8.8

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, 2012.

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