Publications

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  • 2014 Farm Act Maintains SNAP Eligibility Guidelines and Funds New Initiatives

    Amber Waves, July 07, 2014

    The Agricultural Act of 2014 maintains SNAP’s basic eligibility guidelines and includes provisions designed to encourage SNAP recipients to choose healthy foods and to build the skills needed to increase their employment options. Other provisions aim to improve the food environment at schools and in low-income communities.

  • Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Updated Estimates of Distance to Supermarkets Using 2010 Data

    ERR-143, November 28, 2012

    ERS updates data on spatial access to affordable, healthy food, measuring distance to the nearest supermarkets for the U.S. population and considering factors like vehicle ownership and income level of households and areas.

  • Alleviating Poverty in the United States: The Critical Role of SNAP Benefits

    ERR-132, April 09, 2012

    ERS calculated the anti-poverty effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly called Food Stamps) using three measures: prevalence, depth, and severity of poverty. Get Report Summary and blog posting

  • Changes in the Social and Economic Status of Women by Metro-Nonmetro Residence

    AIB-732, February 01, 1997

    Between 1980 and the mid-1990's, the earnings of American women and men became more equal. The narrowing of the earnings gap reflects a number of changes in women's life experiences (delayed marriage and childbearing, increased labor force participation, greater educational equity with men), as well as lower wages for men. This study presents a review and an appraisal of the advancement of women, especially nonmetropolitan women, during the 1980's and mid-1990's. High poverty rates among nonmetro women are cause for public policy concern. This report originated from a request to review the Draft Platform for Action for the Fourth U.N. World Conference on Women held in September 1995 in Beijing, China.

  • Commemorating 20 Years of U.S. Food Security Measurement

    Amber Waves, October 05, 2015

    USDA’s release of the 2014 food security statistics marks the 20th year of consistent, scientifically-based, objective data on food adequacy in U.S. households. The 20-year anniversary provides an opportunity to review the history of the food security measure—how the measure was developed, tested, and evaluated—and to reflect on its impact.

  • Disability Is an Important Risk Factor for Food Insecurity

    Amber Waves, May 06, 2013

    Disability has emerged as one of the strongest known factors in household food security. ERS found that a third of U.S. households with an adult unable to work due to disability were food insecure in 2009-10.

  • Economies of Scale, the Lunch-Breakfast Ratio, and the Cost of USDA School Breakfasts and Lunches

    ERR-196, November 05, 2015

    Most schools serve fewer breakfasts than lunches, raising per-breakfast costs. Costs drop as more meals are served, but the effect is stronger for breakfasts. Balance in number of breakfasts vs. lunches served also affects per-meal costs.

  • Food Assistance Research Brief--The USDA Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program Evaluation

    FANRR-34-14, August 21, 2003

    Getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables can be a significant challenge. A recent ERS study found one program was very successful in achieving the difficult objective. Many elementary and secondary students who ate free snacks of fresh and dried fruits and fresh vegetables as part of USDA's Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program (FVPP) said they improved their eating habits and were more willing to try unfamiliar fruits and formerly disliked vegetables as a result of participating in the pilot. Funded for the 2002-03 school year at $6 million by the 2002 Farm Bill, the pilot program also was considered a success by school staff members who ran it. The pilot operated in 107 U.S. elementary and secondary schools-100 schools in 4 States (25 schools each in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio) and 7 schools in the Zuni Indian Tribal Organization (ITO) in New Mexico. The program's intent was to promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption among schoolchildren as concern spreads among health experts about the increasing number of overweight and obese children. A large majority of participating schools that responded to a survey about the pilot program believe that it would be feasible to continue the pilot if funding were made available and that the funding of about $94 per student was adequate. The research brief is based on a Report to Congress, Evaluation of the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program: Report to Congress. The current Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is administered by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). For information about child nutrition program participation, contact the State agencies that administer the program.

  • Food Assistance Research Brief-Childhood Obesity and the Role of USDA

    FANRR-34-11, July 15, 2003

    The rapid increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children is one of the most serious public health concerns in the United States today. Although most of USDA's child nutrition programs were established in response to documented problems of underconsumption and undernutrition among the low-income population, they now have the potential to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity. This brief examines the how USDA food assistance and nutrition programs can be used to help further that goal.

  • Food Assistance Research Brief-Competitive Foods: Soft Drinks vs. Milk

    FANRR-34-7, July 15, 2003

    "Competitive foods"-those available in schools in addition to USDA-provided school meals-have lower nutritional quality than school meals. This report reviews current information on the impact of competitive foods in school meal programs and presents a case study on competition between milk and soft drinks.

  • Food Assistance Research Brief-Feeding Low-Income Children When School Is Out: The Summer Food Service Program

    FANRR-34-10, July 15, 2003

    The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is the major Federal resource available to provide children from low-income families with nutritious meals when school is not in session. Small in comparison with the National School Lunch Program, which served 15.5 million children in 2001, the SFSP served 2.1 million children. Growing interest in improving SFSP operations and expanding participation led USDA to commission the first comprehensive examination of the program since 1986. This brief presents findings from the study.

  • Food Assistance Research Brief-Food Insecurity in Households With Children

    FANRR-34-13, July 15, 2003

    Household food security, defined as access at all times to enough food for active healthy living, is taken for granted by most American children. However, some parents do have difficulty at times getting enough food for themselves and, more rarely, for their children. This brief examines the extent to which the diets and eating patterns of American children are disrupted because their families cannot always afford enough food.

  • Food Assistance Research Brief-Importance of Child Nutrition Programs to Agriculture

    FANRR-34-12, July 15, 2003

    This research brief estimates the impact of specific USDA child-nutrition programs on production, value added, and jobs on U.S. farms, looking at the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and a combined group of school programs (the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, and Summer Food Service Programs).

  • Food Assistance Research Brief-Reimbursement Tiering Improves Targeting but Decreases Participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program

    FANRR-34-9, July 15, 2003

    The Family Child Care Homes Legislative Changes Study found that family child care homes in the Child and Adult Care Food Program serve fewer children but more of the children are from low-income families. Prior to the tiered reimbursement system, which started in 1997, 21 percent of the children served were from low-income families. Post tiering, that number rose to 45 percent.

  • Food Assistance Research Brief-Tiering Increases CACFP Sponsors' Administrative Tasks

    FANRR-34-8, July 15, 2003

    The two-tiered meal reimbursement system instituted in 1997 within the child care homes portion of the Child and Adult Care Food Program added new duties for sponsoring organizations. This report examines how these new duties have affected the sponsoring organizations' administrative tasks.

  • Food Insecurity Among Households With Working-Age Adults With Disabilities

    ERR-144, January 10, 2013

    Disability is an important risk factor for household food insecurity. One in three U.S. households that include an adult unable to work due to disability is food insecure.

  • Food Insecurity Increased in Most States From 2001 to 2011

    Amber Waves, July 01, 2013

    In 2011, 14.9 percent of U.S. households were food insecure—up from 10.7 percent in 2001. Over the period, food insecurity was essentially unchanged in nine States but up in the remaining States and Washington, DC.

  • Food Insecurity in Households With Children: Prevalence, Severity, and Household Characteristics, 2010-11

    EIB-113, May 30, 2013

    In 2011, nearly 21 percent of households with children were food insecure. ERS describes the extent and severity of child food insecurity by household characteristics.

  • Food Security Among Hispanic Adults in the United States, 2011-2014

    EIB-153, May 11, 2016

    ERS estimates the extent of food insecurity among Hispanic households in the United States and the adults in these households. In 2014, 22.4 percent of Hispanic households were food insecure, versus 14 percent of all U.S. households.

  • Food Stamp Leavers Research Study-Study of ABAWDs Leaving the Food Stamp Program in South Carolina: Final Report

    EFAN-03002, March 06, 2003

    This report presents the findings of a study of able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) in South Carolina who left the Food Stamp Program (FSP) between October 1998 and March 2000. Under 1996 welfare reform legislation, ABAWDs are limited to 3 months of food stamp benefits in a 36-month period unless they work or participate in an approved work or training program. Survey data collected 12 months after they left the FSP showed that about 72 percent of ABAWD leavers were either working or living with an employed adult. Of those who were unemployed at the time of the survey, about half had worked in the past year. About half were below the poverty line, and two-thirds appeared, based on income, to still be eligible for food stamps. Forty percent were food insecure and 23 percent food insecure with hunger evident. Outcomes for ABAWDs who left the FSP in counties exempted from the ABAWD work requirements and time limits were similar to outcomes of ABAWDS leaving the program in nonexempt counties.