In 2015, 5.0 percent of U.S. households had very low food security, down from 5.6 percent in 2014.
The estimated percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure declined significantly in 2015 to 12.7 percent of U.S. households, according to the Economic Research Service of the Department of Agriculture.
This compares to the high of 14.9 percent in 2011. The 2015 prevalence of food insecurity was still above the 2007 pre-recession level of 11.1 percent. In 2015, the percentage of households with food insecurity in the severe range—very low food security—also declined significantly.
In 2015, 87.3 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the year. The remaining 12.7 percent (15.8 million households) were food insecure. Food-insecure households (those with low and very low food security) had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. The decline from 2014 (14.0 percent) was statistically significant.
In 2015, 5.0 percent of U.S. households (6.3 million households) had very low food security, down from 5.6 percent in 2014. In this more severe range of food insecurity, the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources. This decline was also statistically significant.
Children were food insecure at times during the year in 7.8 percent of U.S. households with children (3.0 million households), down significantly from 9.4 percent in 2014. These households were unable at times during the year to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children.
While children are usually shielded from the disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake that characterize very low food security, both children and adults experienced instances of very low food security in 0.7 percent of households with children (274,000 households) in 2015. The decline from 2014 (1.1 percent) was statistically significant.
For households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line, households with children headed by single women or single men, women and men living alone, and Black- and Hispanic-headed households, the rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average.
The prevalence of food insecurity varied considerably from state to state. Estimated prevalence of food insecurity in 2013-15 ranged from 8.5 percent in North Dakota to 20.8 percent in Mississippi. (Data for 3 years were combined to provide more reliable State-level statistics.)
The typical (median) food-secure household spent 27 percent more for food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and composition, including food purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
About 59 percent of food-insecure households in the survey reported that in the previous month, they had participated in one or more of the three largest Federal nutrition assistance programs (SNAP; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and National School Lunch Program).
See the full report.