What do we know about hunger and poverty?
Data from the CPS Food Security Supplement


The U.S.D.A.’s Economic Research Service monitors the extent and severity of food insecurity in U.S. households through a supplement to the Current Population Survey. Responses to a series of 18 questions are used to determine whether a household is food insecure.

Households are considered to have have food security when they report two or less indications of food access problems or limitations.

Household are food insecure when they report three or more such conditions.  Food insecure household are further classified as either having low food security or very low food security. 

In 2014, 17.4 million households or 14% were food insecure at some time during the year due to lack of resources.

While over 86% of all households are not food insecure, only about 60.5% of poor households are food secure.  About 8.4% of all households and 21.6% or poor household had low food security, and 5.6% of all households (18% of poor households) had very low food security.

In addition the rates of food insecurity for the following groups were higher than the national average of 14%:

  • 19% for households with children
  • 22.4% for Hispanic households
  • 21.7% for households headed by single men
  • 26.1% for Black, non-Hispanic households
  • 22.4% Hispanic households
  • 35.3% for households headed by single women

Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, Christian Gregory, and Anita Singh.Household Food Security in the United States in 2014. U.S. Economic Research Service. Economic Research Report No. (ERR-173), 2014. Table 2: Households by Food Security Status and Selected Household Characteristics, 2013. (PDF) Accessed 9/25/2015


Household Food Security in the United States
from the CPS Food Security Supplement


The report series Household Food Security in the United States is produced by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.