Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-20) 16 pp

November 2006

What Factors Account for State-to-State Differences in Food Security?

States differ in the extent to which their residents are food secure-meaning that they have consistent access to enough food for active, healthy living. The prevalence of food security in a State depends not only on the characteristics of households in the State, such as their income, employment, and household structure, but also on State-level characteristics, such as average wages, cost of housing, levels of participation in food assistance programs, and tax policies. Taken together, an identified set of household-level and State-level factors account for most of the State-to-State differences in food security. Some State-level factors point to specific policies that are likely to improve food security, such as policies that increase the supply of affordable housing, promote the use of Federal food assistance programs, or reduce the total tax burden on low-income households.

Keywords: food security, food insecurity, hunger, very low food security, State predictors of food security

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