Explore the Data

Race Equity Trends > Health

Food Insecurity by Race/Ethnicity

Disparities exist in food insecurity by race and ethnicity in Lancaster County

Food insecurity negatively impacts health. For children, it can also impede physical and mental development. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.1 In other words, household access to healthy food is not consistent, leading to reduced intake and/or reduced nutritional quality, variety, and desirability in household members’ diets.2,3 Food insecurity may reflect households needing to make trade-offs with other important basic needs, such as health care or housing.

Using Current Population Survey data and USDA food insecurity measures, Feeding America, a hunger-relief nonprofit organization, estimated local food insecurity rates by analyzing several factors, including poverty, unemployment, homeownership, and disability at the county level.4 This dataset finds people of color in Lancaster County more likely to be food insecure than White residents.

  • Overall, 11.9% of Lancaster County residents face food insecurity.
  • One-third, or 33.0% of residents who identify as Black or African American face food insecurity.
  • Nearly one-fourth, or 23.0% of residents who identify as Latino/a or Hispanic face food insecurity.
  • 11.0% of residents who identify as White face food insecurity.

Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap.

Chart includes all race/ethnic groups available from source.

  1. United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. (Last Updated April 22, 2022). Definitions of Food Security. Retrieved May 1, 2022 from: https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/definitions-of-food-security.aspx
  2. Healthy People 2020. (n.d.) Social Determinants of Health. Retrieved May 1, 2022 from: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health
  3. Feeding America (n.d.) Child Hunger in America. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from: http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/child-hunger/
  4. Feeding America. (n.d.) Mapping the Meal Gap 2023, Technical Brief. Retrieved February 22, 2024 from: https://www.feedingamerica.org/sites/default/files/2023-05/Map%20the%20Meal%20Gap%202023%20Technical%20Brief.pdf