Fact Sheet Improving Food Security and Food Access in Arlington County, Virginia
Kassandra Martinchek, Theresa Anderson, Poonam Gupta, Fernando Hernandez-Lepe, Alena Stern, Amy Rogin
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In 2021, the Urban Institute partnered with the Arlington County Food Security Task Force to evaluate food insecurity and access to nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate food within and across Arlington County. Arlington County has many resources available for residents to meet their food needs but could make improvements to the retail food environment, charitable food resources, and housing and financial assistance programs to improve food security and access for all residents.

We found that food insecurity was concentrated in south and east Arlington, and residents in Crystal City had lower access to charitable food resources compared with residents in other parts of the county. Arlington households experiencing food insecurity often traded off between food costs and other bills, and 1 in 2 visited a charitable food site to get free groceries or meals. While most residents had ready access to a SNAP retailer, affordability remained a major concern especially as food prices rose in late 2021 and early 2022. Black and Hispanic/Latinx respondents reported significantly higher rates of food insecurity than white respondents, and Asian households with low incomes in the county lacked ready access to charitable food.

For the full report with detailed findings and recommendations, click here.

Research Areas Families Neighborhoods, cities, and metros Social safety net
Tags Economic well-being Emergency food networks Hunger and food assistance Food deserts and food supply Food insecurity and hunger Families with low incomes Racial barriers to accessing the safety net Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population Income and Benefits Policy Center
States Virginia
Counties Arlington County
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