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Food Insecure Population

According to the latest research by the San Diego Hunger Coalition, an estimated 486,000 (1 in 7) people in San Diego County experienced food insecurity in 2016. This represents 323,000 adults and 163,000 children who did not always have enough food for an active, healthy life. 

At Risk of Food Insecurity

Additionally, there are 185,000 people at risk of food insecurity. This represents 96,000 adults and 89,000 children that are "food secure" but are at risk of food insecurity should they lose CalFresh or WIC benefits. This means the total population that is either food insecure or food secure with CalFresh or WIC assistance is 671,000, or 1 in 5 people.

The Research

This research for this brief was conducted with input and guidance from the Hunger Free San Diego advisory board, a collaboration of agencies facilitated by San Diego Hunger Coalition. 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 2016 Food Insecurity Rates (California Health Interview Survey 2014-2016)

  • Total food insecure population: 486,000
    • 15.3% of total population (3,182,000), or 1 in 7 people
  • Food insecure adults: 323,000
    • 13.2% of total adult population (2,448,000) or 1 in 8 adults
  • Food insecure children: 163,000
    • 22.3% of total child population (734,000) or more than 1 in 5 children

San Diego County Food Insecure Household Characteristics

  • Nearly half of adults (44%) and children (45%) that live in households below 200% of Federal Poverty Level experience food insecurity
  • Half (50%) of low-income African Americans experience food insecurity, compared to 42% of low-income Latinos, 40% of low-income Whites, and 34% of low-income Asians.
  • Sixty percent (3 out of 5) of low-income single parent households experience food insecurity. 
  • Fifty percent of low-income adults experiencing food insecurity are living with a disability.
  • More than half (55%) of low-income adults experiencing food insecurity are employed.