Brief Food Insecurity Trended Upward in Midst of High Inflation and Fewer Supports
Findings from the Health Reform Monitoring Survey, June 2022
Elaine Waxman, Julio Salas, Poonam Gupta, Michael Karpman
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Approximately one in five adults reported experiencing household food insecurity in both spring 2020 and again in summer 2022, after a decline in reported food insecurity in spring 2021. High food price inflation, along with elevated costs for other basic needs, such as transportation and rent, have likely eroded food budgets in the last year. In addition, some of the safety net responses that buffered food insecurity in 2021 are no longer in place. In this brief, we use data from the Health Reform Monitoring Survey, a nationally representative survey of nonelderly adults, to assess food insecurity among households with nonelderly adults in March/April 2020, April 2021, and June 2022. We find the following:

  • Food insecurity in the 30 days prior to the survey among nonelderly adults and their households increased significantly between spring 2021 (15.3 percent) and summer 2022 (21.4 percent), after having declined following the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic (21.6 percent).
  • Although the unemployment rate has steadily improved since the first year of the pandemic and was 3.5 percent in July 2022, food insecurity for both employed and nonworking adults rose in 2022, when compared with 2021.
  • In June 2022, nearly one in four adults who are parents or guardians of children under 19 living with them (23.9 percent) reported that their household was food insecure, compared with about one in five adults without children under 19 in their families (20.1 percent). Similar to the trends reported above, the 2022 rates showed a statistically significant increase from 2021 and were similar to those reported in spring 2020.
  • In June 2022, Black and Hispanic/Latinx adults experienced food insecurity rates of 29.2 percent and 32.3 percent, respectively. In contrast, white adults experienced food insecurity rates at a considerably lower rate, 17.3 percent. Rates for white, Black, and Hispanic/Latinx adults all declined between 2020 and 2021 and then increased significantly between 2021 and 2022.
Research Areas Social safety net
Tags Food insecurity and hunger
Policy Centers Income and Benefits Policy Center Health Policy Center