Food Security and Nutrition Assistance
ERS monitors the food security of U.S. households through an annual, nationally representative survey. While most U.S. households are food secure, a minority of U.S. households experience food insecurity at times during the year, meaning that their access to adequate food for active, healthy living is limited by lack of money and other resources. Some experience very low food security, a more severe range of food insecurity where food intake of one or more members is reduced and normal eating patterns are disrupted. Reliable monitoring of food security contributes to the effective operation of USDA’s food and nutrition assistance programs aimed at reducing food insecurity.
Federal spending on USDA's food and nutrition assistance programs totaled $183.0 billion in fiscal year 2022, 6 percent less than fiscal year 2021, adjusted for inflation. Inflation-adjusted spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the largest USDA food and nutrition assistance program, was 1 percent lower than the record high spending in fiscal year 2021. Spending on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) increased by 7 percent. Combined spending on child nutrition programs increased by 19 percent. Combined spending on other programs fell in fiscal year 2022, primarily due to lower spending on Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) and the expiration of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program midway through fiscal year 2021.