Food security is defined as “ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods.” The measure was introduced by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1996 to assess households’ ability to consistently obtain three nutritionally adequate meals a day. Households can be rated as being food secure, low food secure, or very low food secure.
Nationally, 11.1 percent of households were food insecure in 2018, including 4.3 percent that had very low food security, or hunger. In Oklahoma, 15.6 percent of households on average experienced food insecurity from 2016-2018, including 6.1 percent which experienced very low food security. Oklahoma was among the five or six states with the highest prevalence of both food insecurity and very low food security.
Food insecurity and very low food security are more prevalent in households with children, especially young children; single-parent households, Black and Hispanic households, and low-income households.