Publications

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  • Post-Recession, a Greater Share of Food-Insecure Children Have Parents Who Are Unemployed or Working Part-Time

    Amber Waves, August 05, 2013

    In 2006-07, among households that had food-insecure children, 6.9 percent had an adult who was unemployed and looking for work and no other adults employed and 10.4 percent had an adult working part-time and no adults employed full-time. By 2010-11, these shares had increased to 12.2 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively.

  • Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods in Schools: Implications for Foodservice Revenues

    EIB-114, June 26, 2013

    Over half of secondary school students consume competitive foods on a typical day; most choices would not meet nutrition standards. Foodservices in affluent districts obtain more revenue from competitive foods.

  • 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.

  • Economic Conditions Affect the Share of Children Receiving Free or Reduced-Price School Lunches

    Amber Waves, May 06, 2013

    During the Great Recession and continuing through 2010, the share of National School Lunch Program participants receiving free or reduced-price meals increased 10 percent. Preliminary data for 2011 and 2012 show that this share continued to rise even after the unemployment rate started to decline, indicating the need for assistance remained high.

  • Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2012 Annual Report

    EIB-109, March 15, 2013

    In FY 2012, about 1 in 4 Americans participated in at least one of USDA's 15 food and nutrition assistance programs. Expenditures for these programs totaled $106.7 billion, 3 percent more than the previous fiscal year.

  • How Economic Conditions Affect Participation in USDA Nutrition Assistance Programs

    EIB-100, September 21, 2012

    ERS examines the relationship between economic conditions and participation across USDA's five largest nutrition assistance programs, and describes how changes in policies and other factors affect participation.

  • Statistical Supplement to Household Food Security in the United States in 2011

    AP-058, September 05, 2012

    This Supplement contains statistics that complement those provided in the Economic Research Report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2011 (ERR-141). The Research Report provides the primary national statistics on household food security, food spending, and use of Federal food and nutrition assistance programs by food-insecure households. This Supplement provides additional statistics on component items of the household food security measure, the frequency-of-occurrence of food-insecure conditions, and selected statistics on household food security, food spending, and use of Federal and community food and nutrition assistance programs.

  • Household Food Security in the United States in 2011

    ERR-141, September 05, 2012

    The overall percentage of food-insecure U.S. households in 2011 was essentially unchanged from 2010. ERS monitors food security in an annual survey.

  • The Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2011 Annual Report

    EIB-93, March 19, 2012

    ERS reports trends in USDA's food and nutrition assistance programs through fiscal 2011. Federal expenditures for these programs totaled $103.3 billion in fiscal 2011, 8 percent above the previous fiscal year.

  • How Much Time Do Americans Spend on Food?

    EIB-86, November 09, 2011

    ERS presents an overview of Americans' eating and other food-related time-use patterns, including grocery shopping, meal preparation, and teenagers' time-use patterns in relation to school meals.

  • Statistical Supplement to Household Food Security in the United States in 2010

    AP-057, September 07, 2011

    This Supplement provides statistics that complement those in the Economic Research Report Household Food Security in the United States in 2010 (ERR-125). The Research Report provides the primary national statistics on household food security, food spending, and use of Federal food and nutrition assistance programs by food-insecure households. This Supplement provides additional statistics on component items of the household food security measure, the frequency-of-occurrence of food-insecure conditions, and selected statistics on household food security, food spending, and use of Federal and community food and nutrition assistance programs.

  • Household Food Security in the United States in 2010

    ERR-125, September 07, 2011

    An estimated 85.5 percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2010, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (14.5 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 5.4 percent with very low food security-meaning that the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. The prevalence rate of very low food security declined from 5.7 percent in 2009, while the change in food insecurity overall (from 14.7 percent in 2009) was not statistically significant. The typical food-secure household spent 27 percent more on food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and household composition. Fifty-nine percent of all food-insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs during the month prior to the 2010 survey.

  • School Foodservice Costs: Location Matters

    ERR-117, May 03, 2011

    Over 42 million meals-31.2 million lunches and 11 million breakfasts-were served on a typical school day in fiscal year 2009 to children through USDA's National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. School food authorities (SFAs) operate local school feeding programs and deliver the meals to the schools. SFAs must serve appealing, healthful meals while covering food, labor, and other operating costs, a challenge that may be more difficult for some SFAs than for others due to differences in costs per meal across locations. Analysis of data on school costs per meal from a large, nationally representative sample reveals that geographic variation is important. In the 2002-03 school year, SFAs in the Southwestern United States had, on average, consistently lower foodservice costs per meal than did SFAs in other regions. Urban locations had lower costs per meal than did their rural and suburban counterparts. Wage and benefit rates, food expenditures per meal, and SFA characteristics such as the mix of breakfasts and lunches served each contributed to the differences in foodservice costs per meal across locations. The importance of these factors varied by location.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program Final Report: Fiscal 2010 Activities

    AP-053, January 28, 2011

    This report summarizes ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program (FANRP) activities and accomplishments in fiscal 2010, including newly awarded projects and recent publications. FANRP supports intramural and extramural research on a wide range of policy-relevant food assistance and nutrition topics. The three perennial program themes are (1) Program Outcomes and Economic Well-Being of Participants, (2) Program Access and Economic Determinants of Participation, and (3) Program Dynamics and Efficiency. Within these broad themes, FANRP identifies priority areas for research emphasis annually.

  • WIC Participation Patterns: An Investigation of Delayed Entry & Early Exit

    ERR-109, December 28, 2010

    Despite the health benefits of participation, many eligible households do not participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). While roughly half of infants born in the United States receive WIC benefits, USDA statistics indicate that eligible pregnant women and children 1-5 years of age are far less likely to participate in WIC than eligible infants and postpartum women. This implies that a number of pregnant women delay enrollment until after having a child, and that many households leave the program when a participating child turns 1 year old. Research on the factors that influence the dynamics of WIC participation can inform outreach and targeting efforts, so that vulnerable populations receive adequate exposure to the benefits of WIC participation.

  • RIDGE Project Summaries, 2009: Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Program

    AP-051, November 24, 2010

    This report summarizes research findings from the Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Program (RIDGE), formerly known as the Small Grants Program. The Economic Research Service created the program in 1998 to stimulate new and innovative research on food and nutrition assistance issues and to broaden the network of social scientists that collaborate in investigating the food and nutrition challenges that exist across communities, regions, and States. The report includes summaries of the research findings of projects that were awarded 1-year grants in summer and fall 2008. The results of these research projects were presented at the RIDGE conference in October 2009. The projects include analyses of the impact of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children on food insecurity and childhood health outcomes, cognitive achievement and the School Breakfast Program, childhood obesity, food choices, and food stamp use among the elderly. Several of the projects focus on specific populations, such as immigrants, Native Americans, or people living in the rural South. Disclaimer: The studies summarized herein were conducted under research grants originating with the Economic Research Service. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of ERS or USDA.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 2009

    ERR-108, November 10, 2010

    The percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure in 2009 was 14.7 percent. Though that level is essentially unchanged from 2008, the levels in both years are the highest recorded since monitoring began in 1995

  • How Food Away From Home Affects Children's Diet Quality

    ERR-104, October 04, 2010

    Compared with meals and snacks prepared at home, food prepared away from home increases caloric intake of children, especially older children. Among older children, food away from home also lowers their daily diet quality.

  • Several School Policies Are Associated With Less Fat in School Lunches

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    Using data from a 2007 study sponsored by USDA's FNS, ERS found that fat content of school lunches is correlated with certain school policies and characteristics. For example, schools that served the lowest fat lunches offered only low-fat milk and/or participated in at least one program promoting purchases of locally grown food or fresh produce.

  • Post Welfare Reform, the Poorest Children Receive Lower Benefits

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    Welfare reform brought sweeping changes to Federal assistance programs. An ERS report indicates that the current “safety net” has gaps, particularly for children in the poorest households. On average, total household resources for children in the poorest households declined from 1990 to 2004.