64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

Measuring Economic Access to Food and Insecurity through Official Statistics. Qualitative and quantitative scales in the Mexican context


Stefano Marchetti



64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

Format: IPS Abstract

Keywords: developingnations, indicators, sdgs


Food security – one of the main goals of the SDGs – is a complex phenomenon, and one aspect is the economic vulnerability to food insecurity, which is usually measured according to headlines-based scales. We take into account the IPC-Global-Partners quantitative scale and the Latin American and Caribbean Food Security qualitative scale. The quantitative scale is based on the share of consumer expenditure spent on food (the ratio between food expenditure and total expenditure), while the qualitative scale only measures nutritional status using specific questions, regardless of food expenditures. The Mexican Household Income and Expenditure survey measures both consumption expenditures and nutritional status, allowing us to compare the food insecurity measured according to the different scales. As expected, our analysis found high discrepancies between the two measures. The qualitative scale does not classify people who spend too much on food as being food insecure, however they are, because food expenditure cause lack of resources for housing, healthcare and other important aspects of social life (access to food generate insecurity). The quantitative scale does not identify people who do not have access to adequate nutrition, assuming they must pay for other fixed expenses, for example for housing or healthcare. These two measures depict two aspects of economic vulnerability to food insecurity, and they should be included in a unique index, proposed here as a first tentative.