Posted on April 29, 2022
Categories: health & nutrition, Philly School Experience Survey (PSES), surveys

Food insecurity directly impacts physical health and is associated with adverse developmental, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes. This brief describes the prevalence of food insecurity among School District of Philadelphia (SDP) households that responded to the District-Wide Survey (DWS) in 2020-21 and examines the differences in food insecurity rates across different student subgroups and schools. This brief also provides a year-over-year comparison of food insecurity rates from 2019-20 and 2020-21 DWS results.


The School District of Philadelphia District-Wide Survey for parents and guardians includes the USDA Six-Item Short Form questions that evaluate household food insecurity. The rate of food insecurity among responding SDP households in 2020-21 was 16.5%.

In 2020-21, the District-Wide Survey for principals asked whether food insecurity was a challenge to student learning. Nearly half of responding principals identified food insecurity as a “great” or “moderate” challenge.