An Analysis of Socioeconomic Determinants of the Black-White Disparity in Food Insecurity Rates in the US

Foods. 2023 Jun 1;12(11):2228. doi: 10.3390/foods12112228.

Abstract

Previous research has not fully explored socioeconomic factors that influence the Black-White food insecurity disparities at the state and county levels in the United States. The goal of this study was to identify socioeconomic determinants associated with the Black-White food insecurity gap in the US at the state and county levels with rigorous quantitative investigation. The 2019 Map the Meal Gap dataset and multivariate regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with the prevalence of the Black-White disparity in food insecurity rates. Unemployment rate and median income gaps were found to be the strongest predictors of the Black-White disparity in food insecurity and the Black food insecurity rates in both state- and county-level models. Specifically, a 1% increase in Black unemployment rate compared with White unemployment rate was associated with a 0.918% and 0.232% increase in the Black-White disparity in food insecurity on average at the state and county levels, respectively. This study highlights the potential root causes of food insecurity and significant socioeconomic determinants associated with the Black-White food insecurity gap at the state and county levels in the US. Policymakers and program creators should implement action plans to address the income disparities and reduce unemployment rates among Blacks to eradicate this gap and ensure equity in food access between Blacks and Whites.

Keywords: food insecurity; racial disparities; socioeconomic status.

Grants and funding

The preliminary analysis of general food insecurity rates of our samples was supported by Feeding America.