June 1, 2021
Food insecurity is a secondary crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. Since the onset of the pandemic, millions of New Yorkers have lost employment or are living on a reduced household income, straining their ability to afford food. For many New Yorkers, savings are depleted, stimulus checks have long since been spent, and enhanced unemployment benefits are not sufficient to meet food needs. Furthermore, social distancing measures have disrupted previous pathways to food access, such as meals provided in community settings (e.g., houses of worship) or schools.This report reviews self-reported survey data related to food scarcity in New York State during the coronavirus pandemic. It presents food scarcity rates by race and ethnicity, age, and household income, and compares New York State with neighboring states. Rates are also shown for child food scarcity. It assesses how frequently New Yorkers are accessing free meals and groceries and from which access points (e.g., school programs, food pantries). Finally, it measures which methods food-scarce New Yorkers are using to meet their household spending needs. Unless otherwise specified, results in this report are among adult New Yorkers.Data from this report come from the COVID-19 Household Pulse Survey, an experimental data product designed by the U.S. Census Bureau in collaboration with multiple federal agencies. The survey, which is ongoing, is providing near real-time data on household experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Prior NYSHealth reports described trends related to food scarcity through July 2020 and through December 2020. This most recent report extends the analysis through March 2021, covering a full year since social distancing and stay-at-home orders were enacted.