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Common screen indicator for food security status

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FSSCREEN identifies whether households passed the "common screen" criteria used to construct a consistent food security measure for the period 1995 to the present. The common screen criteria identify the households that would be screened out of the food security supplement using any combination of screening procedures since 1995.

In order to decrease respondent burden, the food security scale includes screening procedures that have been consistently applied since 1998. Currently, households with incomes above 185% of poverty are asked two preliminary screening questions about food stress: whether the household ran short of money for food (FSSHORT) and whether the household had enough to eat or enough of the kinds of foods they wanted to eat (FSFOODS). Households reporting no food access problems are screened out of remainder of the food security supplement: the food security items and questions on coping with food insecurity. All lower income households and higher income households reporting food access problems continue the supplement.

The Food Sufficiency and Food Security section of the questionnaire also contains three internal screeners: two in the 10 questions asked about the household and the adults in the household and one in the 8 questions asked about the children in the household. These items are cutting the size of meals, skipping meals, going hungry, losing weight, and not eating for a whole day for adults and children in the household. See the variable descriptions for more information on the internal screeners (FSCUTCH, FSSKIPYR, FSSKIPCH, FSHUNGR, FSHNGRCH, FSLOSEWT, FSDAYF,FSDAYCH).

Because screening procedures vary prior to 1998, researchers who wish to examine longer-run trends in the food security status variables must use the common screen variables. FSSCREEN identifies the households that would be screened out of the food security supplement using any combination implemented since 1995. Some households that are food insecure would have been skipped out of the questionnaire in a different year and are therefore food secure under the common screen.

Two historically consistent variables are available from IPUMS: FSSTATUS95 and FSRAWSC95. These directly address the comparability issues, and researchers can analyze them without reference to FSSCREEN.


This variable is comparable across all years.


  • 1995+: All households.
  • Apr 2001: All households in months-in-sample 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1996 - - - - - - - - X - - -
1997 - - - X - - - - - - - -
1998 - - - - - - - X - - - -
1999 - - - X - - - - - - - -
2000 - - - - - - - - X - - -
2001 - - - X - - - - - - - X
2002 – 2022 - - - - - - - - - - - X


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