What is Hunger? What is Food Insecurity?

Hunger is the physical sensation that results from not having enough food to eat. However, when talking about “hunger in America,” what is often meant is more accurately called “food insecurity.”
Food insecurity is a lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs due to a lack of financial resources.

Arlington Food Assistance Center – Fact Sheet FY24

AFAC is the only organization in Arlington, VA, solely devoted to providing Arlington residents dignified access to nutritious, supplemental groceries—free of charge.  Learn more about our mission, the need in Arlington, the Choice Model, and our budget by reading the complete Fact Sheet.

AFAC FY23 Client Facts & Statistics

View AFAC's FY23 client data presented from the 2023 Fiscal Year, including individual, household, and demographic statistics.

Urban Institute: Improving Food Security and Access in Arlington County, Virginia (2022)

In conjunction with AFAC and Arlington County's Food Security Task Force, The Urban Institute released a study to evaluate food insecurity and access to nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate food within and across Arlington County.

Capital Area Food Bank Hunger 2020 Report: The State of Food Insecurity in Greater Washington

This report features a snapshot of hunger and food insecurity in the greater Washington area.

The Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families - 2019 Report

The 2019 Community Report presents the story of Arlington’s children, youth, and families through data. AFAC is featured in the food insecurity section of the report.

Arlington's Safety-Net Non-Profits, January 2016

AFAC is highlighted in this report published by the Marymount University Nonprofit Research Center in partnership with the Arlington Community Foundation.

Food_insecurity-coverArlington Food Insecurity Study 2012-2013

In 2012, AFAC partnered with Virginia Tech’s Center for Survey Research (CSR) and Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP) to conduct a food insecurity study. Despite being one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, food insecurity affects a great many Arlington County residents. Food insecurity is measured by limited or uncertain access to food, reduced food intake, and disrupted eating patterns.

According to this study, slightly more than 4 in 10 Arlington residents in the $60,000 and under income group are experiencing food insecurity. With roughly 75,000 Arlington residents in this income category, this suggests as many as 42 percent or 31,500 of these individuals could experience food insecurity in Arlington, VA. Learn more by reading the full report.

Other Hunger Related Resources

Feeding America: Learn about local food insecurity with the interactive Map the Meal Gap project.

A History of Emergency Food in the US by WhyHunger's National Hunger Clearinghouse.

Household Food Security in the United States in 2015 by the USDA, Economic Research Service.

For information about USDA's food and nutrition programs visit the USDA, Economic Research Service website.  This includes information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. SNAP is the nation’s largest domestic food and nutrition assistance program for low-income Americans.