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Publications

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29 publications, sorted by date 

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ERR-164, March 14, 2014
The Indian State of Chhattisgarh implemented a number of well-publicized reforms to improve distribution of subsidized food grains, many of which have been incorporated into the recently passed National Food Security Act. ERS researchers show that food aid consumption in the State increased in respo...
Amber Waves, February 03, 2014
USDA’s food and nutrition assistance programs—many of which were conceived half a century ago—are still some of the Federal Government’s most important means of fighting poverty and improving the economic well-being of needy Americans.
Amber Waves, November 18, 2013
An analysis of the effect of SNAP participation on diet quality yielded mixed results, showing that participants had slightly lower overall diet quality than low-income nonparticipants but better nutritional outcomes for some dietary components.
ERR-156, September 18, 2013
This report links Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) administrative records from Texas to the American Community Survey (ACS). The large sample size of the ACS enables the estimation of SNAP access rates for demographic subgroups and counties with the State and for demographic subgroup...
Amber Waves, May 06, 2013
Recent ERS research found that one-third of U.S. households with a working-age adult who was unable to work due to a disability were food insecure in 2009-10. Disability has emerged as one of the strongest known factors that affect a household’s food security.
Amber Waves, March 04, 2013
ERS recently updated several national measures of food access, providing estimates of the number of individuals and geographic areas with limited access to healthful and affordable food. Between 2006 and 2010, the number of low-income individuals living more than 1 mile from a supermarket increased,...
ERR-143, November 28, 2012
Efforts to encourage Americans to improve their diets and to eat more nutritious foods presume that a wide variety of these foods are accessible to everyone. But for some Americans and in some communities, access to healthy foods may be limited. Using population data from the 2010 Census, income a...
Amber Waves, September 20, 2012
Food preferences, nutrition knowledge, and access to stores and restaurants all share a role with food prices in consumers’ food purchasing decisions and related health outcomes. Price changes have limited effects on food choices and health outcomes, but the effects may be larger when paired with in...
ERR-140, August 31, 2012
USDA’s Economic Research Service previously identified more than 6,500 food desert tracts in the United States based on 2000 Census and 2006 data on locations of supermarkets, supercenters, and large grocery stores. In this report, we examine the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of thes...
ERR-133, May 30, 2012
This study provides a quantitative assessment of food security using a large household-level expenditure survey conducted by the Government of India during 2004/05. The analysis tests the impact of several key assumptions required to estimate actual calories consumed from the expenditure data. The a...
ERR-128, November 04, 2011
This study uses nationally representative data on marketing of local foods to assess the relative scale of local food marketing channels. This research documents that sales through intermediated marketing channels, such as farmers’ sales to local grocers and restaurants, account for a large portion ...
AP-051, November 24, 2010
This report summarizes research findings from the Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Program (RIDGE), formerly known as the Small Grants Program. The Economic Research Service created the program in 1998 to stimulate new and innovative research on f...
ERR-108, November 10, 2010
Eighty-five percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2009, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (14.7 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the yea...
Amber Waves, March 01, 2010
A small percentage of U.S. households live in “food deserts,” where access to a supermarket or large grocery store is a problem. Low-income residents of these neighborhoods and those who lack transportation tend to rely more on smaller neighborhood stores that may not carry healthy foods or offer th...
AP-041, December 09, 2009
Changes in the American public’s food consumption and purchases in recent decades, together with advances in medical knowledge of dietary effects on health, have heightened awareness of the importance of understanding what people eat and where and why they eat it. Most U.S. consumers have diets that...
ERR-87, December 02, 2009
Concerns about child obesity have raised questions about the quality of meals served in the National School Lunch Program. Local, State, and Federal policymakers responded to these concerns beginning in the mid-1990s by instituting a range of policies and standards to improve the quality of U.S. Dep...
AP-036, June 25, 2009
This report fills a request for a study of food deserts—areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food—from the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The report summarizes findings of a national-level assessment of the extent and characteristics of food deserts, analysis of the co...
ERR-67, December 29, 2008
Food security—consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life—is essential for health and good nutrition. The extent to which a nation’s population achieves food security is an indication of its material and social well-being. Differences in the prevalence of household-level food insecu...
EIB-29, September 27, 2007
Food stamp recipients, like other Americans, struggle with nutrition problems associated with choice of foods, as well as amounts. This series of Economic Information Bulletins compiles evidence to help answer the question of whether the Food Stamp Program can do more to improve the food choices of ...
EIB-29-1, September 27, 2007
The increased food purchasing power offered by the Food Stamp Program can promote food security and improve the overall economic well-being of low-income households. Now, as Americans struggle with obesity and other diet-related health problems, there is interest in whether the program can be more e...
EIB-29-3, September 27, 2007
The cost of “enough food,” estimated from the amount that low- and medium-income households in a geographic area report needing to spend to just meet their food needs, differs substantially across States and among metropolitan areas. In areas with high food costs, many food-stamp recipients are like...
EIB-29-4, September 27, 2007
The Food Stamp Program provides benefits that low-income households can use to purchase food in grocery stores. The rise in obesity has raised the question of whether food stamp participants would purchase more healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, if food stamp benefits were higher. This re...
EIB-29-5, September 27, 2007
This brief examines how consumers respond to food prices and how consumers’ response to price influences their purchases of particular foods, using examples drawn from previous ERS research. Implications of the findings for the use of price interventions to improve food choices are considered.
EIB-29-6, September 27, 2007
The Food Stamp Nutrition Education (FSNE) component of the Food Stamp Program is intended to improve the food choices, diet quality, and health of program participants. This brief discusses the FSNE program, how it operates, and how it has grown over time. The brief also considers the challenges of ...
EIB-29-7, September 27, 2007
With obesity the most prevalent nutrition problem facing Americans at all economic levels, promoting diets that provide adequate nutrition without too many calories has become an important objective for the Food Stamp Program. Findings from behavioral economics suggest innovative, low-cost ways to i...
EIB-29-8, September 27, 2007
Currently, the effects of the Food Stamp Program on the food choices and diet quality of participants are the subject of much debate. Improved evaluation of the nutrition and health effects of the program would be of use to program and policy officials, but most of the existing research is limited b...
AIB-790, July 20, 2004
This analysis uses ACNielsen Homescan data on 1999 household food purchases from all types of retail outlets to estimate an annual retail price per pound and per serving for 69 forms of fruits and 85 forms of vegetables. Among the forms we priced, more than half were estimated to cost 25 cents or le...
FANRR-26-10, September 30, 2003
Food pantries and emergency kitchens play an important role in feeding America's low-income and needy populations. These organizations are part of the Emergency Food Assistance System (EFAS), a network run largely by private organizations with some Federal support. This issues brief summarizes findi...
TB-1869, October 20, 1998
This bulletin reports empirical findings on the determinants of food insecurity in the United States, using data from the 1989-91 Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals and the 1992 Survey of Income and Program Participation. Descriptive statistics on food insufficiency status (a proxy meas...

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