Food Security

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 1419–1432 | Cite as

Food insecurity in the United States of America: an examination of race/ethnicity and nativity

  • Ana McCormick Myers
  • Matthew A. PainterII
Original Paper


Food insecurity is a persistent problem in the United States and is disproportionately distributed across racial/ethnic groups, with some evidence that non-Latino blacks and Latinos experience higher rates than non-Latino whites. But no nationally-representative study examines how race/ethnicity affects food insecurity for immigrants in the United States. Using new assimilation theory and the 1999–2010 waves (N = 32,464) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), this study investigated the relationship between food insecurity and both race/ethnicity and nativity status. Results, when socioeconomic status is held constant, provide evidence for a nonwhite/white divide in food insecurity for both immigrants and the native-born. That is, blacks and Latinos – regardless of nativity status – are significantly more food insecure than both foreign- and native-born whites. These results provide insight into a continuing pattern of racial/ethnic inequality in the United States.


Food insecurity Race/ethnicity Nativity Immigrants NHANES 



For helpful comments on a previous draft, we thank Christine Porter and Anna Zajacova.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. and International Society for Plant Pathology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

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