Publications

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  • Issues in Food Assistance-The Emergency Food Assistance System: Findings from the Client Survey

    FANRR-26-10, September 30, 2003

    Food pantries and emergency kitchens play an important role in feeding America's low-income and needy populations. These organizations are part of the Emergency Food Assistance System (EFAS), a network run largely by private organizations with some Federal support. This issues brief summarizes findings from a survey of EFAS customers. The survey found that, during a typical month in 2001, food pantries served about 12.5 million people, and emergency kitchens served about 1.1 million people. The majority of EFAS households participate in a Federal food assistance program, including two-thirds of food-pantry clients and 45 percent of emergency-kitchen clients. However, a substantial number of EFAS households do not receive food stamps, though they appear to be eligible for them.

  • Dynamics of Poverty and Food Sufficiency

    FANRR-36, September 02, 2003

    This study examines dynamics in poverty and food insufficiency using newly available longitudinal data from the 1993 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and the follow-on Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD). The study uses these data to characterize the incidence and dynamics of poverty and food problems for the entire U.S. population and for different subgroups. It also estimates multivariate, discrete-choice regression models to examine the factors associated with transitions into and out of poverty and food insufficiency, and it analyzes the empirical results in the context of a life-cycle model of income and food consumption. Results indicate that the incidence of food insufficiency in the United States is low-less than 3 percent in 1997. There also appears to be little persistence in food problems; 79 percent of people in households with food problems at the start of the study period were in households without problems 2 years later. The multivariate results indicate that female-headed households face an especially high risk of being food insufficient. Low levels of asset income, an indicator of a household's ability to spread consumption over time, are also associated with food sufficiency problems.

  • The Dynamics of Food Insufficiency

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2003

    The United States has an affordable and abundant food supply. Still, a small percentage of the American population experiences food insufficiency (sometimes or often not having enough to eat). Efforts to target assistance programs to meet the needs of this group can be improved through a better understanding of how people move into and out of food insufficiency, who is most vulnerable, and how long people are food insufficient.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Fiscal 2003, Competitive Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program: Description and Application Process

    AP-012, March 13, 2003

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program accepted proposals for grants and cooperative agreements for fiscal 2003. The three priority research areas were (1) Program Design and Operations, (2) Food Assistance as a Safety Net, and (3) Obesity, Diet Quality, and Health Outcomes. This publication describes the research areas and application requirements. Funding for competitive awards in fiscal 2003 was approximately $1 million. The deadline for proposal submission was May 19, 2003.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Final Report: Fiscal 2002 Activities

    AP-011, February 24, 2003

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program (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) diet and nutritional outcomes, (2) food program targeting and delivery, and (3) program dynamics and administration. The core food and nutrition assistance programs include the Food Stamp Program, the child nutrition programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This report summarizes FANRP's activities and accomplishments in fiscal 2002.

  • Food Security Assessment GFA14

    GFA-14, February 03, 2003

    This report projects food gaps in 70 low-income developing countries and presents findings for North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union.

  • Putting Food on the Table: Household Food Security in the United States

    Amber Waves, February 03, 2003

    In 2001, nearly 9 out of 10 U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year. However, 11.5 million households (10.7 percent of all U.S. households) were food insecure at some time during the year--they did not have access at all times to enough food for active, healthy living.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 2001

    FANRR-29, October 21, 2002

    Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year 2001. The rest were food insecure at least some time during the year, meaning they did not always have access to enough food for active, healthy lives for all household members because they lacked sufficient money or other resources for food. The prevalence of food insecurity rose from 10.1 percent in 1999 to 10.7 percent in 2001, and the prevalence of food insecurity with hunger rose from 3.0 percent to 3.3 percent during the same period. This report, based on data from the December 2001 food security survey, provides the most recent statistics on the food security of U.S. households, as well as on how much they spent for food and the extent to which food-insecure households participated in Federal and community food assistance programs.

  • Issues in Food Assistance-How Do Food Assistance Programs Improve the Well-Being of Low-Income Families?

    FANRR26-9, October 01, 2002

    The costs of USDA's three largest food assistance programs-food stamps, school means and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)-are easier to measure than the benefits of those programs. In 2000, the three programs' direct costs were $28 billion. As shown in this issues brief, the well-being of low-income families who participate in food assistance programs is enhanced by the alleviation of the severity of poverty, an increase in food security, satisfactory nutrient intake, and increases in household food expenditures.

  • Food Insecurity in Higher Income Households

    EFAN-02016, September 20, 2002

    Twenty percent of U.S. households classified as food insecure had midrange or high incomes, according to responses to the 1995-97 Current Population Survey. This study investigates the extent to which these households were food insecure and what proportion of them may have been incorrectly identified as food insecure because of problems in the measurement methods. The study finds that a small proportion, at most, of measured food insecurity among middle- and high-income households appears to be due to misunderstanding of questions or erratic responses. Some households in these income groups are food insecure due to factors such as uneven incomes or changes in household composition during the year or to the existence of multiple economic units in the same household.

  • A 30-Day Food Security Scale for Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement Data

    EFAN-02015, August 22, 2002

    This report describes and assesses a 30-day household food security scale that can be applied specifically to Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (CPS-FSS) data. In the analysis described here, a 30-day scale was originally developed for use in the analysis of the 1995 CPS data. This report revises the scale to make it more consistent with the standard 12-month U.S. food security scale commonly used in food security household analyses. A nonlinear (Rasch-model-based) scaling method was used to statistically assess both the original and revised scales. The report specifies procedures for calculating the revised 30-day scale from CPS-FSS data and classifying households as to 30-day food security status. The report also compares prevalence rates of food insecurity with hunger based on the 30-day scale with those based on the 12-month scale for the years 1998-2000.

  • Re-Engineering the Welfare System-A Study of Administrative Changes to the Food Stamp Program: State Data Collection Instrument

    EFAN-01009, July 01, 2002

    All States in a recent study undertook at least one "re-engineering" activity in their Food Stamp Programs (FSPs) as a result of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). In addition, 35 States implemented changes in 3 or more re-engineering categories, while 24 States planned changes for fiscal year (FY) 2000 in 2 or more categories.

  • Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit

    EFAN-02013, July 01, 2002

    This report provides a toolkit of standardized measurement tools for assessing various aspects of community food security. It includes a general guide to community assessment and focused materials for examining six basic assessment components related to community food security. These include guides for profiling general community characteristics and community food resources as well as materials for assessing household food security, food resource accessibility, food availability and affordability, and community food production resources. Data collection tools include secondary data sources, focus group guides, and a food store survey instrument. The toolkit was developed through a collaborative process that was initiated at the community Food Security Assessment Conference sponsored by ERS in June 1999. It is designed for use by community-based nonprofit organizations and business groups, local government officials, private citizens, and community planners.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 1998 and 1999: Technical Report

    EFAN-02010, June 19, 2002

    This report complements prior reports on measuring household food security in the United States. It explores key technical issues related to Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement data, focusing especially on the August 1998 and April 1999 surveys. These technical issues include the estimation of standard errors using either balanced repeated replication techniques or generalized variance functions (GVFs) developed by the Census Bureau; the effect of alternating survey periods between spring and fall for the 1995-99 CPS Supplement; and the effect of using different Item Response Theory (IRT) modeling approaches and software to create the food security scale. The report also presents 1998 and 1999 item calibrations and household scores developed through the use of IRT modeling.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 1998 and 1999: Detailed Statistical Report

    EFAN-02011, June 03, 2002

    This report provides estimates of the prevalence of food insecurity and hunger in U.S. households in 1998 and 1999 and trends since 1995 based on nationally representative data in the Food Security Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS). The report also provides estimates of the prevalence of hunger among children in food-insecure households (1995 through 1999) based on a child-specific scale. Prevalence rates are reported at the national level, along with breakdowns by household structure, race, ethnicity, income, metropolitan residence, and region.

  • Issues in Food Assistance-Reducing Food Insecurity in the United States: Assessing Progress Toward a National Objective

    FANRR-26-2, May 16, 2002

    This issues brief assesses progress toward the U.S. Government's Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing the prevalence rate of food insecurity in the Nation to half of its 1995 level by 2010. It describes methods used to measure and monitor food security, trends in food insecurity and hunger from 1995 to 2000, the extent to which the strong economic growth during the period was responsible for the improvements in food security, and characteristics of food-insecure households.

  • Food Security Assessment GFA13

    GFA-13, April 01, 2002

    The Food Security Assessment report provides food gap and hunger projections for 67 potentially food insecure countries in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and NIS.

  • Measuring Children's Food Security in U.S. Households, 1995-99

    FANRR-25, April 01, 2002

    The capacity to accurately measure the food security status of children in household surveys is one important tool for monitoring food insecurity and hunger at the most severe levels in U.S. households and for assessing programs designed to prevent or ameliorate these conditions. USDA has developed a children's food security scale to meet this measurement need. The scale is calculated from 8 questions in the 18-item food security survey module that ask specifically about food-related experiences and conditions of children. The scale measures the severity of food insecurity among children in surveyed households and identifies-in the most severe range of the scale-households in which children have been hungry at times because of a lack of household resources for food. The reliability of the children's food security scale is assessed, and the scale is compared with the household-level food security scale. Details are provided on how to calculate the children's food security scale from the questions in the standard food security survey module. The prevalence of hunger among children in U.S. households is estimated by applying the newly developed children's food security scale to data from the nationally representative Current Population Survey Food Security Supplements for the years 1995-99. Prevalence estimates are presented for all U.S. households and for subgroups defined by household structure, race and ethnicity, income, and rural/urban residence.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Fiscal 2002, Competitive Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program: Description and Application Process

    AP-010, March 08, 2002

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program accepted proposals for grants and cooperative agreements for fiscal 2002. The five priority research areas were (1) Program Design and Operations, (2) Food Assistance as a Safety Net, (3) Obesity, (4) Eating Patterns, Diet Quality, and Health Outcomes, and (5) Behavioral Nutrition. This publication describes the research areas and application requirements. Funding for competitive awards in fiscal 2002 was approximately $2 million. The deadline for proposal submission was May 17, 2002.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 2000

    FANRR-21, March 01, 2002

    The latest in a series of annual statistical reports on the prevalence of food security, food insecurity, and hunger in U.S. households, based on the September 2000 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement. This year's report, in addition to statistics on food security, includes information on how much U.S. households spent on food and the extent to which food-insecure households participated in Federal and community food assistance programs.