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Outcome measures data should reflect what we are trying to achieve in our goal. However, population level outcomes may also be influenced by factors unrelated to the SHIP interventions.

% of Arkansans who lack adequate access to food (food insecurity)


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Data Description and Source

12.6 2018-20

17.4 2015-17

        2011-14 ??

18.6 2008-2010

The data for this measure are from the Current Population Survey (CPS), Food Security Supplement (FSS). This survey is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics among the civilian non-institutionalized U.S. population 16 and older. The CPS is a labor force survey that contacts about 50,000 U.S. households a month. Then once each year, respondents from the CPS are asked a series of questions about food security, food expenditures, and use of food and nutrition assistance programs, the FSS. To provide individual state measurements, the CPS FSS combines 3-years of data to ensure statistically meaningful results.



Most U.S. households have consistent, dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living—they are food secure. However, some households experience food insecurity at times during the year, meaning their access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources. 

Food secure households had access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members: 89.5 percent (116.7 million) of U.S. households were food secure throughout 2020.

Food-insecure households are uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, at some time during the year, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food: 10.5 percent (13.8 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2020. Food-insecure households include those with low food security and very low food security.

Households with very low food security are food insecure to the extent that normal eating patterns of some household members are disrupted at times during the year, with self-reported food intake below levels considered adequate

In Arkansas, for the 2016-2018* period,15.1% of households had low food security and 6.1% had very low food security.

  • 6.6 percent (8.6 million) of U.S. households had low food security in 2020.
  • 3.9 percent (5.1 million) of U.S. households had very low food security at some time during 2020.

Prevalence rates for 3 years are averaged to provide more reliable statistics at the State level.


Story Behind the Curve

What data and source to use?

Healthy People 2030 uses:

Possible sources:

Data for 3 years, 2018-20, were combined to provide more reliable statistics at the State level. Estimated prevalence rates of food insecurity during this 3-year period ranged from 5.7 percent in New Hampshire to 15.3 percent in Mississippi; estimated prevalence rates of very low food security ranged from 2.3 percent in Minnesota to 6.5 percent in Louisiana. 

Why Is This Important?

Food insecurity is a social and economic condition where access to food is limited or uncertain. It differs from hunger in that hunger is a physiological feeling. Food insecurity is a complex problem and does not exist in isolation for low-income families. Many of the same families also struggle with issues like affordable housing, medical costs and low wages. The pandemic also heightened food insecurity. 

Food insecurity has broad effects on health due to the mental and physical stress that it places on the body. Children are particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of food insecurity because their brains and bodies are still developing. Among children, food insecurity is associated with anemia; asthma; depression and anxiety; cognitive and behavioral problems; and higher risk of being hospitalized.

Health-related costs attributed to hunger were conservatively estimated at $160 billion in 2014. Adding in lost economic productivity, education costs (such as special education support and costs of school dropout) and charity to combat hunger brings the total to $178.9 billion. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that food insecure adults had annual health care expenditures $1,834 higher than food secure adults, for a cumulative median cost of $687 million per state.

The prevalence of food insecurity is higher among:

  • Non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic households, in which the prevalence of food insecurity in the U.S. is more than two times greater than non-Hispanic white households. 
  • Lower-income households (those below 185% of the poverty threshold) compared with higher-income households.



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