Food insecurity is defined as the lack of access to sufficient food because of limited financial resources.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts an annual household survey to track food insecurity in the United States, with state and county level estimates derived from the national survey results.
In 2019 – before the COVID-19 crisis began – food insecurity in Lane County was 13.6 percent of the total population, or just over 50,000 people. Food insecurity among children was 17.4 percent of all children age 18 and younger.
While we don’t yet have the annual USDA survey results for 2020 (report expected in September 2021) or 2021, an analysis by Feeding America estimates that food insecurity in Lane County increased to 16.5 percent in 2020 (62,700 people) and may come down to 14.7 percent in 2021 – a welcome improvement, but still significantly higher than pre-COVID levels at just under 56,000 people. Feeding America also estimates that child food insecurity in Lane County increased to 22.6 percent in 2020 and may come down to 19.0% in 2021 – one in five children in Lane County are experiencing food insecurity in 2021.
The projected improvement from 2020 to 2021 can likely be attributed to several factors: significant government emergency assistance, expedited vaccination distribution, better-than-expected economic indicators, and the wonderful generosity of donors, which has enabled food banks like FOOD For Lane County to increase charitable food assistance during the crisis.
The need for food assistance in Lane County continues to be elevated, and for some, the recovery will take years. FOOD For Lane County and our food distribution partners will continue to do everything we can to help our community recover, rebuild and emerge stronger.
These statistics were updated on 4/30/2021.