Food insecurity is measured in three tiers, as established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: marginal food insecurity, food insecurity, and very low food security. Each category had fewer people in 2016 than 2014. The study's top findings:
- "13.6 percent of seniors are marginally food insecure, 7.7 percent are food insecure, and 2.9 percent are very low food secure. This translates into 8.6 million, 4.9 million, and 1.8 million seniors, respectively.
- From 2015 to 2016, there were statistically significant declines in the percentage of marginally food-insecure seniors. However, there were no statistically significant changes in food insecurity or very low food security. Looking at demographic categories, there were sizable and statistically significant declines for several categories among the marginally food insecure; however, only two groups – those with incomes above 200 percent of the poverty line and white seniors—experienced significant declines in food insecurity.
- Across all three measures, from 2014 to 2016 there were statistically significant declines of 2.2 percentage points, 1.2 percentage points, and 0.5 percentage points for marginal food insecurity, food insecurity, and very low food security.
- Compared to 2001, the fractions of marginal food insecure, food insecure, and very low food secure seniors increased by 27 percent, 45 percent, and 100 percent, respectively. The number of seniors in each group rose 90 percent, 113 percent, and 200 percent, which also reflects the growing population of seniors. "