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Food Insecure Population

According to the latest research provided by the San Diego Hunger Coalition, an estimated 503,359 (more than 1 in 6) people in San Diego County are food insecure. This represents 345,500 adults and 157,859 children 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 161,925 people at risk of food insecurity. This represents 83,215 adults and 78,710 children below 200% FPL who are food secure, but relying on CalFresh. This means that the total population in San Diego County below 200% FPL that is food insecure or food secure but relying on CalFresh/SNAP is 665,284 (more than 1 in 5).

The Research

This research was conducted for Hunger Free San Diego, a collaboration of leading agencies in the fight against hunger that is facilitated by the San Diego Hunger Coalition.  The estimates were obtained from a special request to UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research, using 2015 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data.

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

  • Total food insecure population < 200% Federal Poverty Line (FPL):  503,359
    • 16.0% of total population (3,155,000), or more than 1 in 6 people
  • Food insecure adults <200% FPL:  345,500
    • 14.3% of total adult population (2,425,000) or more than 1 in 7 adults
    • 42.5% of all adults <200% FPL are food insecure 
  • Food insecure children <200% FPL:  157,859
    • 21.6% of total child population (730,000) or more than 1 in 5 children
    • 45.9% of all children <200% FPL are in food insecure households 

San Diego County Food Insecure Demographics (California Health Interview Survey 2015)

  • 50.0% of low-income single parents are food insecure 
  • 54.7% of food insecure adults are women and 45.3% percent are men
  • 53.3% of food insecure adults are living with a disability
  • 68.9% of food insecure adults are U.S. citizens and 31.1% are non-citizens
  • 53.1% of food insecure adults are working
    • 42.9% of food insecure adults are employed full-time (defined as 21+ hours/week)
      • Disproportionately lower incidence (51.6% of all adults are full-time employed)
    • 9.8% of food insecure adults are employed part-time (defined as <20 hours/week)
  • 4.5% of food insecure adults are veterans 
    • Disproportionately lower incidence (11.0% of all adults are veterans)
  • 13.9% of food insecure adults are seniors 
    • Disproportionately lower incidence (18.2% of all adults are seniors. 
  • 58.9% of food insecure adults are Latino (disproportionately higher incidence - 29.6% of all adults are Latino). More than one quarter (26.5%) are White (disproportionately higher incidence - 50.8% of all adults are White). 
    Note: The survey sample size was not large enough to analyze the African American population or other ethnicities.