Published Date: September 02, 2023

Summary: Little is known about food insecurity and the extent of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation in the heterogeneous Asian American population. Using California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data from the period 2011–2020, authors examined both issues among low-income Asian American adults from six origin groups: Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian, and Vietnamese.

Findings: Authors found high and varied levels of overall food insecurity, with the highest burden among Filipino adults (40%). Food insecurity by severity was also heterogenous; very low food security affected 2 percent of Chinese adults but 9% and 10% of Filipino and Japanese adults, respectively. Participation in CalFresh (California-implemented SNAP) ranged from 11% and 12% among Korean and Chinese adults, respectively, to 20% among Vietnamese adults.

Compared with English-proficient low-income Asian American adults, those with limited English proficiency were no less likely to participate in CalFresh, possibly reflecting language assistance required by California law and provided by community-based organizations. These results underscore the importance of collecting and reporting disaggregated data by Asian origin group that could inform targeted outreach and interventions.

This study uses 2011–2020 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data.

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