Economic Burden Study

When people have uncertain access to food, their health and quality of life suffer. In fact, food insecurity has been associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, and depression. Food insecurity in the U.S. is a concerning and expensive problem. But how much does it really cost us?


A Bread for the World Hunger Report estimated that in 2014 the health care cost of food insecurity was $160 billion.[i] Using information from a Canadian study [iii], our national food insecurity rate, and U.S. health care costs we estimated that food insecurity cost us $78 billion. This means that food insecurity costs our health care system $250 - $500 per person.
TACKLING HUNGER used these numbers in its Food Insecurity State Cost Calculator to estimate the cost of food security in each state. We applied the 2015 USDA state food insecurity rates [iii] and adjusted state costs for regional variations. Check out the costs in your state. Then do something about it!


Food insecurity in older adults with chronic diseases is a critical public health concern and an expensive problem.

[i] Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services. National Health Expenditures 2015 Highlights.

[ii] Cook JT, Poblacion AP. Appendix 2: Estimating the Health-Related Costs of Food Insecurity and Hunger. In 2016 Hunger Report. Bread for the World. 2016.

[iii] Tarasuk V, Cheng J, de Oliveira C, Dachner N, Gundersen C, Kurdyak P. Association between household food insecurity and annual health care costs. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2015;187(14):E429-E36.

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