U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) measures the extent and severity of food insecurity in households through a nationally representative annual survey and releases these statistics in the Household Food Security in the United States report.

Statistics are based on a measure of food security derived from responses to questions about conditions and behaviors known to characterize households having difficulty meeting basic food needs.

The USDA’s formal definition of food insecurity is the lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members; limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Food insecure households are classified further as having either low food security or very low food security. Low food security (formerly food insecure without hunger) is defined as reported multiple indications of food access problems but typically few indications of reduced food intake. Very low food security (formerly food insecure with hunger) is defined as reported multiple indications of reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns due to inadequate resources for food.

The Economic Research Service

Reports from the Economic Research Service (ERS) outline the number of food insecure people and households, research on the impact of federal nutrition programs on participants and the economics of food, farming, and natural resources. Additionally, the ERS publishes fact sheets on population, employment, income, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, and top commodities for each state.

Food and Nutrition Service

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the USDA is a source for information on various federal nutrition assistance programs.

United States Census Bureau

The Census Bureau publishes information on the number of people and families living in poverty at the national and state level, as well as statistics on household income and health insurance coverage. The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) includes data on income and poverty by state, county and school district.