WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- About 10.5 million American households, or roughly 8.9 percent, reported that in the past month their access to adequate food was limited by a lack of money and other resources, according to new 2015 American Housing Survey statistics released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau.
For the first time in its 42-year history, the American Housing Survey included questions on food security status, which allowed HUD to assign households a "food security status" score. Using these categories, about 10.5 million occupied households were classified as having "low" or "very low" food security, which is commonly known as being "food insecure." The survey also looked at homeownership, race and having a disability in relation to food security. Results showed that 4.9 percent of homeowners and 15.5 percent of renters were food insecure, meaning they had "low" or "very low" food security. "For over 40 years, the American Housing Survey has been America's premier source of statistics on housing costs and quality," Katherine O' Regan said, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. "Working closely with experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we added food insecurity to this survey to better understand the balance many lower income households face between the cost and quality of their housing and putting food on the table." The Department of Housing and Urban Development in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture included the questions to determine whether the dietary quality or food consumption of household members was reduced or normal eating patterns were disrupted because the household lacked money for food any time during the last month. One adult respondent per household was asked questions about experiences and behaviors that indicate food insecurity, such as being unable to afford balanced meals, cutting the size of meals because of too little money for food, or being hungry because of too little money for food.