Food Security


Food security means having safe and reliable access to an appropriate amount of nutritious food at an affordable price. In order to have the ability to maintain a healthy diet, individuals and their families must feel secure in their ability to buy healthy foods.

Entire communities experience food insecurity at a macro level, sometimes referred to as food apartheid. Food apartheid results from political and economic decisions rooted in structural racism, which have inequitably led to long-term disinvestment in primarily low-income communities and communities of color. These communities lack the local economic power to maintain grocery stores and are instead bombarded with junk and fast foods.


  • National average of households experiencing food insecurity: 10.9%.¹
  • Black households experiencing food insecurity: 21.8%.¹
  • Hispanic households experiencing food insecurity:19.5%.¹
  • White households experiencing food insecurity: 7.8%.¹
  • A multistate study found that 8% of African Americans live in a tract with a supermarket, compared to 31% of whites.²

Connection Across Determinants

Socioeconomic Status:

  • Low-income zip codes have 30% more convenience stores, which tend to lack healthy items compared to wealthier zip codes.


  • Single mothers are more likely to experience food insecurity at 35.1%.³
  • Women in food insecure household have an increased risk of depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Women in food insecure households are 30% more likely to be overweight than women in food secure households.


  • For many, it is also important to consider access to foods that are culturally sensible to truly allow individuals to eat healthy.


  1. Food Insecurity, Children, and Race. Accessed June 19, 2017.
  2. Beebe R. The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why it Matters. May 2017. Accessed May 12, 2017.
  3. Smith M. Gender and Food Insecurity: The Burden on Poor Women. Published 2012. Accessed June 21, 2017.