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Month of food insecurity is an indicator used to assess the frequency of household food insecurity and the months in which these incidents occur. By asking a few questions, this method can be used as a quick measure of whether or not households face food insecurity. The food insecurity questions are found in most multi-indicator surveys such as the LSMS and are used as a subjective measure of food insecurity.
How to operationalize the metric
Method of data collection and data needed to compute the method:
Data on the month in which the household did not have enough food (food insecure) are enumerated via survey at the household level. The following survey questions are asked of participants:
- In the last 12 months, have you been faced with a situation when you did not have enough food to feed the household”
- When did you experience that incident? (Months of the year are provided or listed and the household indicates which months.)
These questions are in the LSMS surveys (World Bank, 2017) and other multi-indicator surveys.
Unit of analysis:
Computation of this data may require a few calculations and data staging. Ask the household member participant to indicate which months they did not have enough for consumption in the past year, Then code those months as one (1) or zero (0). Calculate to obtain the number of months that the household did not have enough food by summing up the response across the twelve months. The highest value that may be observed from this summation is 12. Divide the total months by 12. This will provide you a value from 0 to 1. This indicator can be used as a proxy measure for food insecurity.
Limitations regarding estimating and interpreting:
The limitation is that it will not provide you with information on what foods or food groups were not available that caused this insecurity. To obtain more robust information, other indicators listed previously may be used.