Food insecurity and insufficiency at low levels of food expenditures

Craig Gundersen, David Ribar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we investigate the external validity of the food insecurity and insufficiency measures-specifically, how these measures correlate with food expenditures-using the December 2003 Food Security Supplement of the Current Population Survey. We focus on a special segment of the population-households with low incomes and low food expenditures. If reports of food problems are based on a lack of food, reports should be nearly ubiquitous at the bottom of the expenditure distribution. We find, however, that this is not the case. We define and scale food expenditures several different ways and find that the reported incidence of food insecurity never rises above one-half anywhere along the corresponding expenditure distributions, leading to concerns about the external validity of the measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-726
Number of pages23
JournalReview of Income and Wealth
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Current Population Survey
  • Food expenditures
  • Food insecurity
  • Food insufficiency
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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