About 14.3% of American households still struggle with food insecurity, remaining essentially unchanged from 2012 to 2013 but declining from 2011's 14.9%, according to a new report from the USDA Economic Research Service.
The annual report found that the percentage of households with food insecurity in the severe range, described as "very low" food security, was essentially unchanged from the previous year.
In this more severe range of food insecurity, the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources.
The study found that children and adults were food insecure at times during the year in 9.9% of households with children. At times during the year, these 3.8 million households were unable to provide adequate and nutritious food for children.
The percentage of households with food-insecure children was essentially unchanged from 2011 and 2012 at 10%.
Rates of food insecurity were also substantially higher than the national average for households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line, households with children headed by single women or single men, and Black- and Hispanic-headed households.
Suburban and exurban areas around large cities were the least likely to harbor food insecure households, the study found. Rather, food insecurity was more common in large cities and rural areas.
Estimated prevalence of food insecurity, based on three years of data, ranged from 8.7% in North Dakota to 21.2% in Arkansas; estimated prevalence rates of very low food security ranged from 3.1% in North Dakota to 8.4% in Arkansas.
According to report co-author Alisha Coleman-Jensen, a previous ERS study indicates that though employment and other economic factors are showing signs of improvement, inflation and the price of food relative to other goods and services continued to increase, keeping some households in the food insecure range.
Read the full report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2013.
Source: USDA ERS