UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Food Insecurity Indicators
USDA defines food secure households as those who have "access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members." In 2019, the Economic Research Service (ERS) of USDA estimated that nearly 90% of U.S. households were food secure. *
The same ERS report indicated that between 2008, the height of the “Great Recession,” and 2014, more than 14% of U.S. households were classified as food insecure. Further, households with children consistently have higher rates of food insecurity than those without children. During the Great Recession more than 21% of households with children were classified as food insecure; by 2019, that had fallen to a still relatively high 13.6%.
USDA data from 2016-2018 indicate that Minnesota (8.3% food insecure families) and Wisconsin (8.9% food insecure families) have lower proportions of food insecure households than the average state.
Despite these relatively good indicators, food insecurity is still a serious issue in the St. Croix River Valley Counties. According to recent data, between 14% and 35% of students in these six counties qualified for free or reduced price school lunches, five of six counties saw increases in 2019 in the proportion of households classified as food insecure, and the proportion of households receiving SNAP (aka, Food Stamps) remained fairly constant through 2019 despite the economic expansion the nation experienced.