A lack of sufficient nutritious food is associated with a number of serious health, behavior, and cognitive deficits in children. Children living with food insecurity have poorer health than children who are in food-secure households. Infants who experience food insecurity are more likely to perform poorly on tests of cognitive development. For infants and toddlers, even mild levels of food insecurity may result in developmental deficits during this period of rapid brain growth.
The denominator for this indicator is the number of households with one or more children ages 0-2. The numerator is the number of these households that experienced low or very low food security (not child- or adult-specific), as determined by survey responses. This indicator was updated with three years of data to improve reliability for the State of Babies Yearbook: 2022.
This indicator can be disaggregated by race/ethnicity and urbanicity. Race/ethnicity: Race/ethnicity is reported by the survey respondent who is likely the child’s caregiver. The Current Population Survey includes race and ethnicity data for the following single categories as well as specific combinations or two or three categories and unspecified combinations of the races: White only, Black or African American only, American Indian or Alaska Native only, Asian only, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander only. Ethnicity is asked as a separate question. Responses of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Salvadoran, Other Hispanic, Central American (excluding Salvadoran) and South American are coded as Hispanic, regardless of response to the race item. We then group the remaining non-Hispanic respondents into the following race categories for analyses: Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Black, Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native, Non-Hispanic Asian, Non-Hispanic Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and Non-Hispanic two or more races. Urbanicity: Metropolitan areas include central cities, metro areas outside of central cities, and metro areas with central city status unknown. Non-metropolitan areas are areas outside of metropolitan areas.
Coleman-Jensen, A., McFall, W., & Nord, M. (2013). Food insecurity in households with children: Prevalence, severity, and household characteristics, 2010-11. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details/?pubid=43765
Zaslow, M., Bronte-Tinkew, J., Capps, R., Horowitz, A., Moore, K. A., & Weinstein, D. (2009). Food security during infancy: Implications for attachment and mental proficiency in toddlerhood. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 13(1), 66-80. DOI 10.1007/s10995-008-0329-1
Rose-Jacobs, R., Black, M. M., Casey P. H., Cook, J. T., Cutts, D. B., Chilton, M., Heeren, T., Levenson, S. M., Meyers, A. F., & Frank, D. A. (2008). Household food insecurity: Associations with at-risk infant and toddler development. Pediatrics, 121(1), 65-72. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2006-3717
Flood, S., King, M., Rodgers, R., Ruggles, S., Warren, J.R. & Westberry, M. (2021). Current Population Survey (IPUMS, Current Population Survey: Version 9.0) [Dataset]. IPUMS. https://doi.org/10.18128/D030.V9.0