The Significant Decrease in Household Food Insecurity in the United States
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The Significant Decrease in Household Food Insecurity in the United States

a statement from the agriculture secretary, tom vislack

September 7, 2016

On September 7, 2016, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement on the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) analysis, Household Food Security in the United States in 2015, which points to the lowest figures on record for food insecurity among children:

"Today's report marks a significant benchmark in our battle against hunger and food insecurity, underscoring in clear terms that our nation's families and children are better off today than they were when the President took office in 2009. In fact, today's report points to the lowest figures on record for food insecurity among children--a major achievement in our country's efforts to ensure every child has a safer, healthier future filled with unlimited opportunity.

In 2015, household food insecurity fell 1.3 percentage points from 2014 and 2.2 points from 2011-the peak of the recession. At the same time, very low food security has dropped to 5 percent from a peak of 5.7 percent. Today's data mean that 7.9 million fewer people were struggling to provide adequate food for themselves or household members than when President Obama took office in the midst of the worst economic downtown since the Great Depression.

The figures released today also remind us that our work to fight for access to healthy food for our nation's most vulnerable families and individuals is far from over. We must work to preserve the critical Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which prevented millions of Americans from falling into poverty or becoming food insecure during the most difficult stretches of the recession.

And we must continue to encourage the public and private sectors alike to invest in our rebounding rural communities--the place that produces our food, fiber and fuel. As our economy continues to gain strength with millions of new jobs, falling unemployment and growing wages, today's report just underscores that America is greatest when everyone gets a fair shot."

Data for the ERS food security reports come from an annual survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau as a supplement to the monthly Current Population Survey. ERS sponsors the annual survey and compiles and analyzes the responses.

The 2015 food security survey covered 39,948 households comprising a representative sample of the U.S. civilian population of 125 million households.

The food security survey asked one adult respondent per household questions about experiences and behaviors that indicate food insecurity, such as being unable to afford balanced meals, cutting the size of meals because of too little money for food, or being hungry because of too little money for food. The food security status of the household was assigned based on the number of food-insecure conditions reported.