Economic Research Report No. (ERR-11) 65 pp

October 2005

Household Food Security in the United States, 2004

Eighty-eight percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2004, meaning that they had access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households were food insecure at least some time during that year. The prevalence of food insecurity rose from 11.2 percent of households in 2003 to 11.9 percent in 2004 and the prevalence of food insecurity with hunger rose from 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent. This report, based on data from the December 2004 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. Survey responses indicate that the typical food-secure household in the U.S. spent 31 percent more on food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and household composition. Just over one-half of all food-insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food assistance programs during the month prior to the survey. About 20 percent of food-insecure households-3.5 percent of all U.S. households-obtained emergency food from a food pantry at some time during the year.

Keywords: Food security, food insecurity, hunger, food spending, food pantry, soup kitchen, emergency kitchen, material well-being, Food Stamp Program, National School Lunch Program, WIC

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