The Issue: Food Insecurity in DC

Home / The Issue: Food Insecurity in DC

As of 2016, nearly 37,000 D.C households struggle against hunger. While the nation's federal nutrition programs have a wide reach in Washington, D.C., too many adults and children continue to slip through the nutrition safety net.

The ability to obtain enough food for an active, healthy life is the most basic of human needs. Inadequate access to healthy food leads to poor nourishment and poor health. This can result in high rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other nutrition-based health problems.

Food Insecurity: 
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as follows: “The availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food, or the ability to acquire such food, is limited or uncertain for a household.” The USDA monitors the extent and severity of food insecurity in U.S. households through an annual, nationally representative survey. The following numbers are according to the USDA's report: Household Food Security in the United States, 2016:

  • 4% of all households in the District of Columbia were food insecure in 2014-2016, equating to nearly 37,000 homes in D.C. not having enough food.
  • Among the 11.4 percent of D.C. households struggling with hunger, 4.0% of households were considered to have "very low food security." People that fall into this USDA category have more severe problems, experiencing deeper hunger and cutting back or skipping meals on a more frequent basis for both adults and children.
  • 1% of households in Maryland face food insecurity, equating to 232,603 households.

Sources and Resources

Interactive Map of Food Insecurity Across the United States

Household Food Security in the United States 2016 Full Report

Household Food Security in the United States in 2016 Summary

Food Insecurity in Maryland