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Food Insecurity and Food Pantry Use

Report offers second week of estimates for 10 U.S. states and 8 metro areas

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Notably more than 1 in 10 respondents in the states of New York and Texas reported receiving help from a food pantry in the previous seven days.”

Diane Schanzenbach and Abigail Pitts
Results from the COVID Impact Survey, Week 2 (May 4–10, 2020)

food bank traffic

A man assists with traffic control at the Chesterfield Foodbank. 

The COVID Impact Survey also collected representative information for a select set of states and metropolitan areas. The table below (Table 7 in the full report) presents estimates of rates of food insecurity and food pantry use in 10 states and 8 metropolitan areas, with 95% confidence intervals in the even columns. IPR Director and economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and research analyst Abigail Pitts combined information from the April and May surveys, as there were very few statistically significant changes across months. Refer to the summary page for highlights from their report. 

The exceptions include that between April and May food insecurity in Florida declined, and food pantry use statistically increased in California and Florida and declined in Colorado. Notably more than 1 in 10 respondents in New York and Texas reported receiving help from a food pantry in the previous seven days.

Food Insecurity and Food Pantry Use: Selected U.S. States and Metro Areas
Table 7. Food Insecurity and Food Pantry Use: Selected U.S. States and Metro Areas
Food
Insecure
Received Help
from a Food Pantry
Share of Respondents 95% Confidence Interval
Share of Respondents 95% Confidence Interval
  (1) (2) (3) (4)
Select U.S. States
California 25% [22.9%, 27.6%] 7% [6.0%,
8.9%]
Colorado 17% [14.0%, 19.1%] 4% [2.9%,
5.7%]
Florida 22% [19.2%, 24.4%] 5% [3.2%,
5.9%]
Louisiana 35% [31.5%, 38.8%] 7% [4.7%,
8.5%]
Minnesota 11% [8.9%, 13.3%] 5% [3.4%,
6.4%]
Missouri 22% [18.6%, 24.6%] 7% [5.1%,
8.7%]
Montana* 14% [11.0%, 17.8%] 5% [2.6%,
6.7%]
New York 26% [22.8%, 28.6%] 11% [8.9%,
13.1%]
Oregon 22% [18.9%, 24.5%] 8% [6.1%,
9.8%]
Texas 26% [23.3%, 29.5%] 10% [7.4%,
11.6%]
Select U.S. Metropolitan Areas
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Georgia 19% [16.3%, 21.8%] 6% [4.2%,
7.6%]
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland 19% [16.5%, 22.3%] 5% [3.2%,
6.3%]
Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama 26% [22.4%, 29.1%] 4% [2.5%,
5.5%]
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin 23% [20.3%, 26.0%] 5% [3.6%,
6.6%]
Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio 21% [17.9%, 23.5%] 7% [5.1%,
8.6%]
Columbus, Ohio 22% [19.2%, 25.1%] 7% [5.2%,
9.0%]
Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, Arizona 25% [21.2%, 28.2%] 10% [7.3%,
12.1%]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 14% [11.6%, 16.5%] 5% [3.8%,
7.1%]

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is the Margaret Walker Alexander Professor and IPR Director. Abigail Pitts is a research analyst. Read the full report, "Estimates of Food Insecurity During the COVID-19 Crisis: Results from the COVID Impact Survey, Week 2 (May 4–10, 2020)."

Photo credit: Flickr  (Photo by Tom Saunders, VDOT)

Published: May 18, 2020.