Food Hardship during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Great Recession

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


I compare the extent of food hardships in the United States among adults and seniors before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insufficiency increased threefold compared to 2019, and more than doubled relative to the Great Recession. Food insufficiency among seniors increased 75% during the COVID period, but more than doubled when including reduced intake of food varieties. Receipt of charitable foods among disadvantaged adults spiked 50% in the COVID period, but the initial response among seniors was a sharp reduction, before rising. These patterns are consistent with strong social distancing measures enacted in response to the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-152
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association


  • Aging
  • Charitable food assistance
  • Food insecurity
  • Food insufficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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