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Overview

USDA's National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) is the first nationally representative survey of American households to collect unique and comprehensive data about household food purchases and acquisitions. Detailed information was collected about foods purchased or otherwise acquired for consumption at home and away from home, including foods acquired through food and nutrition assistance programs. The survey includes nationally representative data from 4,826 households, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households, low-income households not participating in SNAP, and higher income households.


The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), with support from USDA's Economic Research Service and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), is organizing a new two-year research initiative consisting of ten distinct projects that will leverage the FoodAPS data set to address issues related to food security, nutrition, and health in the United States. For the full request for proposals, see Call for Proposals: NBER Project on the Economics of Food Security, Nutrition, and Health: Insights from FoodAPS. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

The University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research (UKCPR), in cooperation with ERS, will competitively award grants to qualified individuals and institutions to provide rigorous research that utilizes FoodAPS to expand our understanding of household food behaviors and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Research issues of interest include: benefit adequacy, diet quality, cost of a healthy diet, and food security, and the role of the local food environment and other geographic factors. In addition to the FoodAPS data, geographically-linked data on the local food environment and food prices compiled as part of the FoodAPS Geography Component (FoodAPS-GC) are available for awardees. It is anticipated that about 3 grants of up to $50,000 each will be awarded. See the call for proposals, FoodAPS Research Initiative: Understanding SNAP, Food Security, and Geographic Factors in Food Purchase and Acquisition Decisions. Deadline: March 31, 2016.


FoodAPS provides information about household size and composition, available resources (including food and nutrition assistance program benefits, if any), and acquired food items (and their prices). This information, combined with data about the food items and prices that are accessible to each household, provides a robust dataset for research studies that support the design and implementation of policies and regulations affecting America’s food and nutrition assistance programs. For a more detailed description of the survey, see Background.

ERS and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of USDA jointly sponsored FoodAPS. Mathematica Policy Research, a private research firm with experience conducting large-scale data collections, designed and implemented the survey. The Main Variable List contains the variables included in the data files. These include the household-level and individual-level interview files, the food-at-home (FAH) and food-away-from-home (FAFH) event files, the FAH and FAFH item files, data from the Meals and Snacks form, a summary of the individual daily reporting status, household access to FAFH outlets and SNAP-authorized FAH retailers, a file containing each unique geocoded acquisition place, and estimates of household SNAP eligibility. A User's Guide, providing an overview of the survey and data sets as well as general notes about using the data, is also available.

    Data Set   
    DownloadsLast UpdatedNext Update
    Variable List and CodebooksBack to top
    Main Variable ListDownload as Excel2/10/2016
    User's Guide to Survey Design, Data Collection, and DatasetsDownload as PDF2/10/2016
    Household Level CodebookDownload as PDF2/25/2015
    Individual Level CodebookDownload as PDF2/25/2015
    Household screening toolsBack to top
    Household screener 1Download as PDF9/5/2013
    Household screener 2Download as PDF9/5/2013
    Participation followup letterDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Household food booksBack to top
    Adult food bookDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Primary respondent bookDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Youth food bookDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Call in scheduleDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Telephone interviewDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    In-person interviewsBack to top
    Initial visit scriptDownload as PDF1/15/2014
    Initial interviewDownload as PDF5/28/2014
    Income worksheetDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Final interviewDownload as PDF12/11/2013
    Respondent feedback formBack to top
    Respondent feedback formDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Meals and snacks formBack to top
    Meals and snacks formDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Survey confidentiality formsBack to top
    Confidentiality formDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Confidentiality agreementDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Participant consent formDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Privacy pledgeDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Geographic componentBack to top
    Retail Environment Study codebookBack to top
    Retail Environment Study codebookDownload as PDFDownload file7/22/2014
    Variable List-GCBack to top
    Variable List-GCDownload as PDFDownload file7/22/2014
    Training manualsBack to top
    Telephone interviewer manualDownload as PDF4/14/2014
    Field interviewer manualDownload as PDF4/14/2014
    General informationBack to top
    Informational brochureDownload as PDF9/5/2013
    Informational postcardDownload as PDF9/5/2013

    Last updated: Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    For more information contact: Elina Tselepidakis Page and John A. Kirlin