SAN ANTONIO FOOD INSECURITY DATA PORTAL
Welcome to the San Antonio Food Insecurity Data Portal! The portal is a central repository for data on the nature and severity of food insecurity in San Antonio and an analysis of its root causes and health impacts.
Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food which meets dietary needs and food preferences for an active, healthy life. It is also a household-level economic, social, and environmental condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food that meets cultural or personal needs. Food insecurity may begin with worrying about where the next meal will come from and can lead to missed meals and poor health outcomes.
Addressing food insecurity goes beyond increasing physical access to food, but also improving food availability and quality, ensuring economic access to food, and understanding patterns of nutrition and consumption of food. It is also critical to recognize the burden of chronic disease often experienced by individuals facing food insecurity.
The San Antonio Food Insecurity Needs Assessment
A food insecurity planning team comprised of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (SAMHD) program managers and leadership was formed to develop a request for proposals for a San Antonio Food Insecurity Assessment and lay the groundwork for the San Antonio Food Insecurity Workgroup. In the spring of 2023, SAMHD hired UTHealth Houston School of Public Health as the contractor to help with the Food Insecurity needs Assessment, and also formed the Food Insecurity Workgroup.
The Food Insecurity Needs Assessment is divided into three overarching deliverables:
- Data collection on the nature and severity of food insecurity in San Antonio and an analysis of its root causes and health impacts.
- A Law and Policy Review of statutes and public policies that contribute to food insecurity at the federal, state and local level. [pdf]
- An analysis of existing resources and community assets that support food resiliency (to center perspectives of those with lived experience through participatory action research).
Exploring the Data
The UTHealth School of Public Health created two ways of exploring the food insecurity data online: a set of interactive maps and charts and a narrative ‘story map‘, along with a companion user guide.
The San Antonio Food Insecurity Assessment and User Guide for Web-based Tools Built to Collect and Visualize Data Related to Food Insecurity in Bexar County
The Assessment and User Guide describes the food security measures, including the Bexar County Retail Food Environment Index (BCRFEI), and provides a guide to use of the online data tools.
Food Insecurity Indicators on Bexar Data Dive
The UTHealth School of Public Health partnered with Community Information Now (CI:Now) to integrate the food security data into CI:Now’s Bexar Data Dive platform. Building the data into Data Dive connects people with data on other issues related to food insecurity and enables update of the data over time. Available in English and Spanish, Data Dive is an interactive website that lets people explore tables, charts, and maps, as well as download data, on a wide range of issues. The San Antonio food insecurity indicators in Bexar Data Dive can be accessed either:
The Food Insecurity measure is the percent of population that are food insecure and lack the access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life.
Eligible Families Receiving SNAP
The Eligible Families Receiving SNAP measure is the percent of total families with income under 150% of the federal poverty level that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps.
WIC-Eligible Children under 6
The WIC-Eligible Children under 6 measure is the percent of children under the age of 6 in families below 185% of the federal poverty level, the income threshold for eligibility for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in Texas.
Bexar County Retail Food Environment Index
The Bexar County Retail Food Environment Index (BCRFEI) is a measure of healthy foods available from certain retailers in a given geographic area, with higher scores indicating more stores that offer healthier foods.
Story Map: Understanding Food Insecurity in San Antonio, Texas: A Visual Tour of Food Insecurity-Related Factors in Greater San Antonio
The ArcGIS Story Map tells the story of food insecurity in San Antonio in an easy-to-understand visual way that is less technical than the interactive maps and charts. Click the image at right to visit the Story Map.