What 'Food Insecurity' Means

What 'Food Insecurity' Means

The USDA is out with a new report on "food insecurity" in the U.S. (hat tip to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities). Though there have been few changes since last year, it's sure to renew the controversy over the term "food insecurity" itself. Many advocates treat it as synonymous with "hunger," but some conservative commentators claim it's just a way of exaggerating concerns about poverty.

A household's "food security" is defined based on answers to various survey questions. "Low food security" means that the household had trouble obtaining enough food at some point over the course of a year, and "very low food security" indicates that eating patterns were actually disrupted -- though even in these cases children are "usually shielded," according to the new report.

About 85 percent of U.S. households are classified as "food secure," 9 percent have "low food security," and 6 percent have "very low food security." Here are the specific problems reported in each group:

Robert VerBruggen is editor of RealClearPolicy. Twitter: @RAVerBruggen

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