Eighty-fi ve percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2008, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (14.6 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 5.7 percent with very low food security meaning that the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. Prevalence rates of food insecurity and very low food security were up from 11.1 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, in 2007, and were the highest recorded since 1995, when the fi rst national food security survey was conducted. The typical food-secure household spent 31 percent more on food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and household composition. Fifty-fi ve percent of all food-insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs during the month prior to the 2008 survey. Download 2008 USDA Report on Household Food Security in the United States.
Dr. Mark Nord is a sociologist at the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He leads the Agency's work on measuring and monitoring household food security and conducts research on measurement and determinants of food security. Previous work includes research on natural resources, rural poverty, and migration at ERS and at the Pennsylvania State University, management of relief and development programs of a non-government organization in Bangladesh, and bush flying in the jungles of Borneo. He received MS and Ph. D. degrees in rural sociology from the Pennsylvania State University.