Food insecurity is the primary measure of food hardship and is associated with poor health. Official estimates of food insecurity are released annually from the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (CPS-FSS). However, data for 2020 will not be released until September 2021. To track
food hardship in real time during COVID-19, the Census has fielded the biweekly Household Pulse Survey (Pulse), which includes questions on “food insufficiency.” Differences between CPS-FSS and Pulse data mean that food insecurity measures from 2019 are not directly comparable with food insufficiency measures from 2020. This means that we are likely underestimating the degree of food hardship during the pandemic. Here’s why.