DOI: 10.1002/aepp.13412 ISSN: 2040-5790

A reconsideration of food insecurity trends in the United States

Craig Gundersen
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Development


The food insecurity status of a household in the United States is generally put into the categories of food secure, low food secure, or very low food secure. Substantial differences in the level of need within categories are then ignored. In response, I establish a class of food insecurity measure using the binary measure of food insecurity combined with a measure of “dollars needed to be food secure.” Using data from the 2010 to 2021 Current Population Survey, I examine whether patterns of food insecurity differ by choice of measure. The two most notable findings are, first, that changes in food insecurity are similar across measures up until 2019 when they began to diverge and, second, that while aggregate rates fell from 2010 to 2021 under all measures, groups especially vulnerable to food insecurity saw smaller declines in the food insecurity rate and increases over other measures.

More from our Archive