Published Date: September 20, 2022

Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated socioeconomic disparities in food insecurity. Researchers analyzed the 2020 nonrestricted California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to examine disparities in food insecurity by ethnicity and immigration status (i.e., U.S.-born, naturalized, noncitizen) among Asians and Latinxs compared to U.S.-born whites.

Findings: Regardless of immigration status, Latinxs were more likely to experience food insecurity than whites. Based on the adjusted analyses, noncitizen, naturalized, and U.S.-born Latinxs had a predicted probability of 12%, 11.4%, and 11.9% of experiencing food insecurity, respectively. In contrast, noncitizen Asians, but not U.S.-born or naturalized Asians, reported greater food insecurity than whites (12.5% vs. 8.2%). Socioeconomic position (SEP) accounted for 43% to 66% of the relationship between immigration status-ethnicity and food insecurity. The pandemic exacerbated economic hardship, but food insecurity was largely explained by long-standing SEP-related factors among Latinxs, regardless of immigration status, and noncitizen Asians. To address disparities in food insecurity, social assistance programs and COVID-19 economic relief should be extended to noncitizens.

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