1 in 5 older Americans experience food insufficiency, according to U-M study

March 29, 2022

Contact: Morgan Sherburne, 734-647-1844, morganls@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—More than 20% of older adults in the United States will experience food insufficiency at some point in their 60s and 70s, according to a University of Michigan study.

The study, led by U-M researcher Helen Levy, examined the probability that older adults will experience food insufficiency, or not having enough to eat, at some point over a long time period—about 20 years. She found the likelihood of food insufficiency over a longer period of time was about three times as high—22% compared to 8%—as any single point in time. The study was published in the journal Applied Economic Perspective Policy.

“The extent of food-related hardship among seniors in any given year is well documented. In 2019, 2.8% of Americans ages 60 and older reported experiencing food insufficiency. From some perspectives, this is a relatively small fraction,” said Levy, a research professor in the Survey Research Center at the U-M Institute for Social Research. “But it still means more than 2 million seniors did not have enough food, and the prevalence of hardship over a longer time period will almost certainly be greater.”

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