Food Insecurity, Survey

Household Food Security in the United States in 2021 (2022)

The USDA Economic Research Service recently published their annual Household Food Security report for 2021. The report presents statistics from an annual, nationally representative survey that covers household food security, food expenditures, and the use of Federal nutrition assistance programs.

Finding highlights include:

  • In 2021, 10.2 percent (13.5 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 because of a lack of resources. The 2021 prevalence of food insecurity was not significantly different from the 10.5 percent recorded in 2020 (13.8 million households) and 2019 (13.7 million households).

  • Children were food insecure at times during 2021 in 6.2 percent of U.S. households with children (2.3 million households), down from 7.6 percent in 2020 and not significantly different from the 6.5 percent in 2019. These households with food insecurity among children were unable at times to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children.

  • The prevalence of food insecurity increased from 2020 to 2021 for households with no children, especially for women living alone. Food insecurity also increased for elderly people living alone.

  • The prevalence of food insecurity declined from 2020 to 2021 for a few population subgroups, including households with children under age 18 and with children under age 6, married couples with children, and single mothers with children. Food insecurity also declined for households with Black, non-Hispanic reference persons (an adult household member in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented), all low-income households, and households in the South.

  • About 56 percent of food-insecure households in the survey reported that in the previous month, they participated in one or more of the three largest Federal nutrition assistance programs: SNAP; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch Program.