This study is provided by Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD).

Current Population Survey, December 2010: Food Security Supplement (ICPSR 32241)

Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census; United States. Bureau of Labor Statistics; United States. Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service


This data collection is comprised of responses from two sets of survey questionnaires, the basic Current Population Survey (CPS) and a survey on the topic of food security in the United States, which was administered as a supplement to the December 2010 CPS questionnaire. The CPS Food Security supplement was sponsored and conducted by the United States Census Bureau for the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The CPS, administered monthly, is a labor force survey providing current estimates of the economic status and activities of the population of the United States. Specifically, the CPS provides estimates of total employment (both farm and nonfarm), nonfarm self-employed persons, domestics, and unpaid helpers in nonfarm family enterprises, wage and salaried employees, and estimates of total unemployment. Data from the CPS are provided for the week prior to the survey. In December, the week containing the twelfth day of the month was the interview week. The week containing the fifth day was the reference week (i.e., the week about which the labor force questions were asked).

The supplement was intended to research the full range of severity of food insecurity as experienced in United States households. The food security questions were asked of all interviewed households, as appropriate. Respondents were queried on how much the household spent for food, their use of federal and community food assistance programs, whether they were able to afford enough food, food sufficiency, and ways of coping with not having enough food.

Demographic variables include age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, veteran status, educational attainment, occupation, and income.

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


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Study Description


United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census, United States. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and United States. Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service. Current Population Survey, December 2010: Food Security Supplement. ICPSR32241-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-12-16. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR32241.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR32241.v1

Export Citation:

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  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    census data, compensation, demographic characteristics, economic conditions, employment, federal assistance, food aid, food preferences, food security, food shortages, full-time employment, Hispanic or Latino origins, household composition, households, hunger, income, industry, labor (work), labor force, part-time employment, population characteristics, wages and salaries, work, work experience, working hours

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2010-12

Date of Collection:   

  • 2010-12

Unit of Observation:    For the basic CPS survey questions, the unit of observation was individuals within housing units, and for the Food Security supplement households were the unit of observation.

Universe:    The basic CPS universe is comprised of all persons in the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States living in households. The December 2010 supplement universe represented the full CPS sample comprised of all interviewed CPS households.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Information on the Federal Food Security Measurement Project, is available from the Economic Research Service Food Security in the United States Briefing Room.

The Food Security supplement items were used by the supplement sponsor to produce a scaled measure of food insecurity. Responses to individual items in the supplement may not be meaningful measures of food insecurity. Measures that combine information from multiple items (HRFS12M1 and following) are generally considered to be more reliable measures of food security and food insecurity.

Users are strongly encouraged to refer to the User Guide (produced by the Principal Investigators), which contains not only information about the basic CPS survey, but also detailed technical documentation specific to the Food Security Supplement. In particular, Attachment 8 of the User Guide contains the Food Security supplement questionnaire, and Attachment 17 contains user notes regarding the Food Security supplement.

The universe statements for each variable are defined in either the basic or supplement record layout, which are located in Attachments 6 and 7, respectively, of the User Guide.

ICPSR removed all FILLER and PADDING variables from the data. As a result, the column locations in any ICPSR-released data product (e.g., codebook and setup files) will have column locations that are not consistent with locations described in the User Guide.

Changed PI name to Library of Congress term on 12/12/2017.


Sample:    The CPS uses a multistage probability sample based on results of the decennial census, with coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


The data contain nine weight variables:

  • Household Weight -- HWHHWGT -- Used in tallying household-level characteristics for labor force survey variables.
  • Family Weight -- PWFMWGT -- Used only in tallying family-level characteristics for labor force survey variables.
  • Longitudinal Weight -- PWLGWGT -- Found only on adult records matched from month to month (used for gross flows analysis).
  • Outgoing Rotation Weight -- PWORWGT -- Used for tallying information collected only in outgoing rotations.
  • Final Weight -- PWSSWGT -- Used for most tabulations, controlled to independent estimates for (1) States; (2) Origin, Sex, and Age; and (3) Age, Race, and Sex.
  • Veteran's Weight -- PWVETWGT -- Used for tallying veteran's data only.
  • Composited Final Weight -- PWCMPWGT -- Used to create BLS's published labor force statistics.
  • Supplement Household Weight -- HHSUPWGT -- Used in tallying household-level characteristics for supplement survey variables.
  • Supplement Person Weight -- PWSUPWGT -- Used in tallying household member-level characteristics for supplement survey variables.

Users are strongly encouraged to refer to the User Guide for additional detailed information on how to use these weights, as well as how they were derived.

Mode of Data Collection:    computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI), computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI)

Description of Variables:   

The Food Security supplement variables can be categorized by five major sections:

  1. Food Spending (HES1A-HES8).
  2. Minimum Food Spending Needed (HES8B-HES8D).
  3. Food Assistance Program Participation (HES9-HESP9).
  4. Food Sufficiency and Food Security (HESS1-HESSHM5). This section includes the 18 food security questions that are used to calculate the 12-month Food Security Scales as well as follow-up questions that are used to calculate the 30-day food security scales.
  5. Ways of Avoiding or Ameliorating Food Deprivation -- Coping Strategies (HESC1-HESCM4).

Presence of Common Scales:    Detailed information regarding the scales used in this supplement is located in Attachment 17 of the User Guide.


Original ICPSR Release:   2011-12-16



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