Food security means access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.
USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) plays a leading role in research on food security and food security measurement in U.S. households and communities. ERS provides data access and technical support to social science scholars to facilitate their research on food security. ERS research focuses on:
- Food security in U.S. households (see annual report below)
- Food security's effect on the well-being of children, adults, families, and communities
- Food security's relationship to public policies, public assistance programs, and the economy
ERS has created several interactive charts and graphs about food security and food insecurity. Visit the Interactive Charts and Highlights page for more information.
Webinar: ERS social science analyst Alisha Coleman-Jensen provides an overview of USDA’s annual report on the prevalence and severity of food insecurity in U.S. households in 2021.
Food security research spotlight:Food Insecurity Among Working-Age Veterans
This report documents the extent and severity of food insecurity among working-age veterans, ages 18–64, who made up 76 percent of the veteran population in 2019. Examining working-age veteran subpopulations, this report compares food insecurity among working-age veterans and nonveterans and examines the association between military service and food insecurity.
All ERS publications related to food security in the United States can be found on the ERS Publications page.
All Household Food Security in the United States annual reports are also available on the History and Background page.
Selected ERS resources on numerous topics central to food and nutrition security are available on the Nutrition Security Research Resources page.
Information specific to food sufficiency in the United States during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is available on the COVID-19 Economic Implications for Agriculture, Food, and Rural America – Food and Consumers webpage.
In 2015, ERS released the 20th year of statistics on household food security in the United States. ERS also sponsored a conference to provide an opportunity to reflect on the contributions and effects of the household food security measure. The opening session of the October 21, 2015, conference, titled "Reflecting on 20 Years of Measuring Household Food Security in the United States," is available on video.
A panel discussion followed the opening session. The panel included former staff from ERS and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) who were instrumental in developing the food security measure, along with outside researchers who also played key roles.
- Part 1 covers the opening session
- Part 2 covers the panel discussion
To mark 25 years of food security data collection, USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) funded a suite of competitive grants through a collaborative research program with Tufts University and the University of Missouri titled “25 Years of Food Security Measurement: Answered Questions and Further Research.” The purpose of the program was to foster research related to the past 25 years of U.S. household food security research and to explore future feasible evidence-based improvements.
Research papers resulting from funded projects were presented at a national conference on April 4, 2022—with a conference recording available here—and will be compiled in a journal supplement.