Capital Area Food Bank Hunger Report Survey
Data were lacking on the scope of food insecurity across the region.
Despite many signs that the region was returning to “normal” after the COVID pandemic, The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) and their network of partners were still seeing an elevated need. It was important to understand the disconnect between recovery and normalization and the continued severity of food insecurity over the last year in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.
A groundbreaking survey measured the prevalence and attitudes on food insecurity.
The Capital Area Food Bank partnered with NORC at the University of Chicago to conduct its second landmark general population survey in the region, reaching nearly 5,300 residents. NORC used a probability-based sample and took a multi-mode address-based (or ABS) approach with adults in the D.C. metropolitan area, which includes the following areas: Montgomery County, MD; Prince George's County, MD; Fairfax County, VA; Prince William County, VA; Arlington County, VA; Alexandria, VA, and Washington, DC.
The survey’s insights can improve the understanding of food insecurity and inform solutions.
The 2023 Hunger Report highlights the rates of food insecurity in the greater Washington, DC, region over the past year and paints a picture of the unequal recovery from the pandemic.
The survey shows the different factors that have contributed to food insecurity remaining at high levels across the region. The survey also provides key insights into the current demographics of those experiencing food insecurity, revealing deep disparities. The 2023 Hunger Report offers recommendations for every sector to address food insecurity's root causes and build greater equity and economic participation across the region.
Among the findings:
- The rate of food insecurity has remained consistent with 2021-2022 levels with one-third of adults in the Washington region—more than 1.2 million people—living in households experiencing food insecurity.
- The major drivers of food insecurity among adults in the region included the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on employment, high rates of inflation, and the rollback of pandemic government assistance programs. And among those facing food insecurity, over half reported major impacts from all three of these dynamics.
In addition to findings on the key drivers of food insecurity, the survey also revealed the negative health effects due to lack of access to adequate nutrition and the impact of diet-related illnesses on the food insecure. Nearly half of the region’s food insecure adults are experiencing at least one diet-related illness.