In a recent Baker Institute Blog post, Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, Baker Institute Rice scholar and assistant professor of sociology at Rice, outlines a study examining "food insecure" neighborhoods and whether neighborhood social characteristics are associated with food insecurity after accounting for family-level socioeconomic factors.

The issue of food security, which Kimbro and Rice University co-authors Justin Denney and Sarita Panchang define as the inability to access sufficient food, is a significant issue that affected 50 million people in the United States in 2010. The study strongly indicates that there are community-level contributors to food insecurity, and that a policy focus on providing food assistance to individual families and households overlooks the importance of the context in which these families live.

"This identification of where children with low food security live can aid policymakers in framing, targeting and promoting programs to alleviate child hunger. This research also may aid in creating new types of policies that can target neighborhoods rather than households, a practice likely to be more efficacious."