Laura J. Hales

Agricultural Economist


Laura J. Hales is an agricultural economist in the Food Assistance Branch of the Food Economics Division of USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). Her research focuses on the measurement of food insecurity in the United States, especially among demographic subgroups. Laura joined ERS in 2021. She previously worked as a research analyst at the Kansas Department of Labor and as a lecturer in international business at the University of Kansas.


Laura earned an M.A. in economics from the University of Missouri and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Brigham Young University. She has also completed training in survey methodology at the University of Maryland and applied statistics at the University of Michigan.

Professional Affiliations

American Economic Association (AEA)

Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)

Selected Publications

Hales, L. J., & Coleman-Jensen, A. (2024). Household food insecurity across race and ethnicity in the United States, 2016–21 (Report No. EIB-269). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

Rabbitt, M. P., Hales, L. J., Burke, M. P., & Coleman-Jensen, A. (2023). Household food security in the United States in 2022 (Report No. ERR-325). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.