The data on this site is derived from the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey (HPS) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS). New HPS data is currently released every two weeks, and new LAUS data is released once a month. The most recent data used for this report are:

  • Household Pulse Survey:
    • Summary data: March 17 - March 29
    • Complete data: March 17 - March 29
  • Local Area Unemployment Statistics:
    • Statewide data: February
    • County-level data: February

This report updates upon the release of new data. Sign up with this form to be notified of updates. All data used in this report can be found and downloaded here. All code used to download and process the raw data and to generate this site can be found here.

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Food insufficiency

Rate over time

The plot below contains the percentage of adults who answered this question:

In the last 7 days, which of these statements best describes the food eaten in your household?

with one of these two answers:

Sometimes not enough to eat
Often not enough to eat

In the most recent survey period that ended March 29, an estimated 10.0% of California adults, or approximately 2,470,000 adults, lived in households with food insufficiency.

Using a model based upon data from the Food Security Supplement of the Current Population Survey, we estimate that in the most recent survey period, 8.6% of children, or approximately 748,000 children, experienced food insufficiency.


The map below is for the survey period that ended March 29. Hover over a county for its food insufficiency rate.

Estimated from: Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics.

Because the Household Pulse Survey does not provide data at the county level, we use a model to estimate the county-level food insufficiency numbers. The model uses the food insufficiency rate of California and the county unemployment rates to estimate food insufficiency for each county.

The state-level food insufficiency data is updated more frequently than the county unemployment rates, and each month’s unemployment data comes out later than the food insufficiency data. If unemployment data is not yet available for a month, the model uses the latest month for which data is available.


In the above, Hispanic refers to individuals of any race. White, Black, and Asian refer to individuals of that single race. Other refers to individuals of two or more races, or races other the White, Black, or Asian.


The above plot contains the reasons respondents gave for selecting “Sometimes not enough to eat” or “Often not enough to eat”. Respondents can choose more than one reason, so the percentages sum to greater than 100%.


Free groceries or meals

Since respondents can choose more than one source of free groceries or free meals, the sources sum to greater than 100%.


Rate over time

The data for the most recent month is typically “preliminary” and subject to revision when the following month’s data is released.


The map below is for February. Hover over counties for rates.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics.

Unemployment and food insufficiency

We modeled food insufficiency on the state unemployment rate to understand how the current situation relates to the past. The blue line shows our model.

The relationship between food insufficiency and unemployment that held between 2001 and 2019 appears to have changed during the pandemic. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, food insufficiency is much higher than it was in the past for the same levels of unemployment.