Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Political Science

First Advisor

Rodrigo Aranda

Second Advisor

J. Kevin Corder


Food insecurity is one of the most pervasive and concerning problems in the United States. Approximately 1 in every 13 households within the United States was food insecure at some point during 2022 (Rabbitt et al., 2023) Food insecurity occurs when households have a limited ability to access nutritious foods, there is a limited supply of safe, healthy foods, or they are unable to obtain food in socially acceptable ways (Anderson, 1990). Low food security is associated with adverse health outcomes like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and poor mental health, which contributes to the severity of the problem (Thomas et al., 2021). Conversely, food security means that households always have access to nutritious foods in socially acceptable ways (Anderson, 1990).

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials documented the food insecurity rate of 11.9 percent in 1995, 10.5 percent in 2019, and 10.2 percent in 2021 (Hamilton et al., 1997 & Rabbitt et al., 2023). The fluctuating yet overall stable rate of food insecurity is especially concerning as the US is one of the most developed countries in the world. As the economy grows, one would expect higher rates of food security. However, this is not the reality, and the US is not alone in experiencing this problem. A UN report (2023) estimates roughly 1 in 3 people worldwide were food insecure in 2022. This statistic suggests that every country, including the US, needs to enact interventions ensuring access to healthy food for all households. Without substantial research at the state level, achieving food security will remain a distant goal.

This analysis documents the challenge of food insecurity. First, I examine the measurements and determinants of food security. Then, I explore programs within the US designed to mitigate food insecurity, notably the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), given its significance in scope and funding. SNAP programs vary from state to state, which prompts questions regarding differences in state policy. How do SNAP programs differ between states, and does it result in outcome disparities that may justify policy changes? I will conduct a case study between Michigan and Indiana from 2010 to 2021 to answer these questions. It focuses on Michigan and Indiana because their sociodemographic characteristics and geographic proximity are comparable. Including COVID-19 offers insights into how sudden changes in policy impact food security and SNAP receipt. By exploring differences in food security and SNAP receipt in both states, this analysis aims to inform future policy, add perspective on the interactions between food stamps and food insecurity, and motivate further state-level research.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Chapleau Thesis Powerpoint.pdf (1626 kB)
Defense Presentation