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Food Insecure Population

According to the latest research provided by the San Diego Hunger Coalition, an estimated 494,439 (nearly 1 in 6) people in San Diego County are food insecure. This represents 330,302 adults and 164,137 children living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) who do not always have enough food for an active, healthy life. 

At Risk of Food Insecurity

Additionally, there are 143,197 people at risk of food insecurity. This represents 76,404 adults and 66,793 children below 200% FPL who are at risk of food insecurity should they lose CalFresh/SNAP benefits. This means the total population that is either food insecure or food secure with CalFresh/SNAP assistance is 637,636, or more than 1 in 5 people.

The Research

This research was conducted for Hunger Free San Diego, a collaboration of agencies facilitated by the San Diego Hunger Coalition that is applying a data-driven approach to ending hunger.  These estimates are the most accurate information that exists on food insecurity in San Diego County, and come from the Hunger Coalition's analysis of data sets from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) administered by UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research. 

San Diego County Food Insecurity Rates (California Health Interview Survey 2015)

  • Total food insecure population < 200% Federal Poverty Line (FPL):  494,439
    • 15.7% of total population (3,155,000), or nearly 1 in 6 people
  • Food insecure adults <200% FPL:  330,302
    • 13.6% of total adult population (2,425,000) or nearly 1 in 7 adults
  • Food insecure children <200% FPL:  164,137
    • 22.5% of total child population (730,000) or more than 1 in 5 children

San Diego County Food Insecure Demographics

  • 58.4% of food insecure adults are women and 41.6% percent are men.
  • Approximately 40 percent (40.7%) of low-income adults and nearly half (47.9%) of low-income children are living in a food insecure household. 
  • More than half (52.5%) of low-income food insecure adults are Latino. More than a quarter (26.8%) are White.  
    Note: The survey sample size was not large enough to analyze the African American population or other ethnicities.
  • Three out of five (62.5%) low-income single parent households are food insecure. 
  • 62.5% of low-income single parents are food insecure.
  • Nearly half (48.5%) of food insecure adults are living with a disability.
  • More than half (55.8%) of low-income food insecure adults have a job.
  • 70% of food insecure adults are U.S. citizens and 30% are non-citizens. ("Non-citizen" includes all people without U.S. citizenship, including Lawful Permanent Residents, visa holders, and undocumented individuals.)