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Capital Area Food Bank Hunger Report Survey

2BDTF9G Washington, United States. 09th Apr, 2020. A volunteer packs a box of food to be distributed to people in need at the Capital Area Food Bank on Thursday, April 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Capital Area Food Bank provides over 30 million meals per year with its non-profit partners in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Since the COVID-19 pandemic food banks around the country have seen an uptick in demand as unemployment has surged around the country. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News
A first-of-its-kind survey of food insecurity in the Washington, DC metropolitan region
  • Client
    Capital Area Food Bank
  • Dates
    2021 - 2022


Data was lacking on the scope of food insecurity across the region.

The negative economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are one of the most pressing challenges across the nation. Yet there was no clear understanding of the severity of food insecurity over the last year or the correlation between food insecurity, geography, economic inequality, education, and race in the Washington, D.C., 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 a landmark general population survey in the region, reaching nearly 4,000 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 2022 Hunger Report contains the first information to be released about rates of food insecurity in the greater Washington region over the past year and paints a new picture of the pandemic's profound toll on the ability of people across our region to put food on the table. 

The survey shows the different experiences people across the region faced two years after the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey also provides key insights into the current demographics of those experiencing food insecurity, revealing deep disparities. The data 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:

  • One-third of residents in the Washington region—more than 1.2 million people—experienced food insecurity at some point during the previous year.
  • In every county across the region, at least one in five people faced challenges getting enough to eat at some point in the last year.

In addition to findings on the prevalence of food insecurity, the survey also captured public sentiments around the region's social and economic issues and individual expectations about recovery. Economic recovery for those hit hardest financially by the pandemic is lagging well behind those who were less impacted, widening pre-existing inequities in our economy.

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