New Survey Looks at Food Security and Food Hardship in High Point Area

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 22, 2016 – High Point University’s Survey Research Center has conducted a local poll measuring food hardship and food security. Results find that almost a quarter of residents (23 percent) indicated that there have been times in the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to buy food their family needed, and 24 percent reported experiencing low or very low “food security.”

The poll responded to requests in the High Point community for more in-depth, local reporting on these issues.

“One of the great resources High Point University brings to the community is our ability to do high-quality community-based research,” says Dr. Joe Blosser, Robert G. Culp Jr. director of service learning. “The results of the data affirm we still have a ways to go in achieving food security in High Point.”

This time last year, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released a report ranking the Greensboro-High Point area as No. 1 in food hardship (27.9 percent) based on Gallup data. Since then, efforts have increased in the High Point community to determine the extent of hardship and productive ways to address the problem.

The HPU Poll included households that fall within High Point zip codes, as well as Archdale, Jamestown and Trinity. Almost half (48 percent) of High Point households surveyed within the 27260 zip code indicated that there have been times in the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to buy food that their family needed. This level of “food hardship” is almost twice as high as experienced by households in the 27262 zip code (26 percent). A lower percentage of 14 percent indicated food hardship in the 27265 zip code.

When asked about food security, 24 percent indicated that they experience either low or very low food security. Responses were based on a score determined by adding the affirmative responses to a series of six questions developed by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics.

“Many organizations in High Point asked for more information about the needs of people in the community,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of HPU’s Survey Research Center and the HPU Poll. “This HPU survey of households in the greater High Point area finds levels of food hardship similar to those FRAC reported last year, but it gives the community much greater depth than a single survey question.”

About the Hunger Survey:

HPU’s Survey Research Center, faculty and High Point community organizations collaborated on this poll in response to requests for a local, systematic data collection on food security and food hardship in the city. Community organizations include Healthy High Point Foundation, High Point Regional Hospital, the High Point Enterprise, Senior Resources, Community Clinic of High Point, City of High Point, N.C. Cooperative Extension, the Guilford County Health Department and the Greater High Point Food Alliance.

Committee members met to discuss types of data that would be most useful to the community and compiled questions on food hardship, food security, exercise, fruit and vegetable consumption, access to food, food backpack programs, food restrictions and medical and oral health. Some of these questions were modeled after items previously fielded by Gallup, the USDA, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) and the Current Population Survey.

Greater High Point, NC households – Food Hardship – 2016

In order to measure food hardship, the High Point University Survey Research Center administered a question fielded by the Gallup organization as part of its Gallup‐Healthways Well‐Being Index and reported by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in its research (http://frac.org/pdf/food_hardship_2014.pdf).

Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?

Yes – 23 percent

No – 77 percent

By zip code:

Zip Code 27260 27262 27265
Yes 48 percent 26 percent 14 percent
No 53 percent 74 percent 86 percent
Number of interviews (n=) 99 133 280
Approximate margin of sample error 9.8 percent 7.4 percent 4 percent

 

(Greater High Point area (including Archdale, Jamestown, and Trinity) households) sample surveyed Apr. 2 – Apr. 8, 2016, n = 776 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 3.5 percent)

Greater High Point, NC households – Food Security – 2016

To measure relative food security, the High Point University Poll adopted the U.S. Household Food Security Six-Item Short Form Survey Module developed by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics (http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/survey-tools.aspx#six).

High or marginal food security – 77 percent

Low food security – 12 percent

Very low food security – 12 percent

I’m going to read you several statements that people have made about their food situation. For these statements, please tell me whether the statement was often true, sometimes true, or never true for you/your household in the last 12 months – that is, since last April.

The first statement is, “The food that I/we bought just didn’t last, and I/we didn’t have money to get more.” Was that often, sometimes, or never true for you/your household in the last 12 months?

Often true – 7 percent

Sometimes true – 17 percent

Never true – 76 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – Less than 1 percent

“I/We couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals.” Was that often, sometimes, or never true for you/your household in the last 12 months?

Often true – 9 percent

Sometimes true – 15 percent

Never true – 76 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – Less than 1 percent

In the last 12 months, since last April, did you/you or other adults in your household ever cut the size of your meals or skip meals because there wasn’t enough money for food?

Yes – 17 percent

No – 82 percent

(Don’t know) – Less than 1 percent

How often did this happen – almost every month, some months but not every month, or in only 1 or 2 months?

Almost every month – 39 percent

Some months but not every month – 38 percent

Only 1 or 2 months – 22 percent

(Don’t know) – 1 percent

In the last 12 months, since last April, did you ever eat less than you felt you should because there wasn’t enough money for food?

Yes – 18 percent

No – 82 percent

(Don’t know) – Less than 1 percent

In the last 12 months, were you ever hungry but didn’t eat because there wasn’t enough money for food?

Yes – 12 percent

No – 88 percent

(Don’t know) – Less than 1 percent

(Greater High Point area (including Archdale, Jamestown, and Trinity) households) sample surveyed Apr. 2 – Apr. 8, 2016, n = 776 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 3.5 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on April 2 – 8, 2016. The responses from greater High Point, NC, including Archdale, Trinity, and Jamestown came from adults representing 776 households with landline or cellular telephones. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 3.5 percentage points for all households. The data is not weighted based on conclusions by the SRC that it was sufficiently representative of the population under study. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of surveys. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2016/04/46memoA.pdf.

For the SRC and HPU Poll, further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings for each poll since 2010.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

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