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Household Food Insecurity Access Scale

Indicator Phrasing

average Household Food Insecurity Access Scale Score
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: average Household Food Insecurity Access Scale Score

French: score moyen de l’Accès déterminant l’Insécurité alimentaire des Ménages

Spanish: Media de la puntuación de la Escala del Componente de Acceso de la Inseguridad Alimentaria en el Hogar

Portuguese: Classificação média do agregado familiar no Índice de Acesso Alimentar Inseguro

Czech: průměrné skóre Household Food Insecurity Access Scale

What is its purpose?

This indicator measures the severity of household food insecurity. It focuses on the “access” aspect of food insecurity (i.e. not on food utilization). It is based on respondents’ perceptions of their households’ food vulnerability and on their behavioural responses to food insecurity.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Determine the indicator's value by using the methodology described in detail in FANTA’s very practical and easy-to-use Household Food Insecurity Access Scale Indicator Guide. The main steps involve:


1) Conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of your target households, asking them:

   > nine “occurrence” questions representing a generally increasing level of severity of food insecurity

   > nine “frequency-of-occurrence” questions that are asked as a follow-up to each occurrence question to determine how often the situation occurred


These questions, alongside all details on their use, are described in the HFIAS Guide.


2) Calculating the score for each household by summing up the scores for each frequency-of-occurrence question as described in the HFIAS Guide.


3) Determining the indicator’s value by summing up the scores of all households and then dividing the result by the number of interviewed households.

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by wealth.

Important Comments

1) Take maximum advantage of all the guidance provided by FANTA’s Household Food Insecurity Access Scale Indicator Guide.


2) Measuring the average HFIAS Score is just one out of four ways in which the HFIAS data can be used. It is primarily recommended because it is most sensitive to capturing smaller increments of change over time. The three additional ways include using HFIAS data for measuring:

  > the prevalence of different levels of food insecurity in a given geographical area (i.e. % of households that are food secure/ mildly food insecure / moderately food insecure / and severely food insecure)

  > the prevalence of households experiencing one or more of three overall aspects of food insecurity (anxiety and uncertainty, insufficient quality, insufficient food intake)

  > proportion of households experiencing a specific situation of food insecurity (one of the nine situations assessed by the surveys)


3) The HFIAS can be used both in areas of low and high food insecurity. The HHS indicator, in contrast, is most appropriate to use in areas affected by very high food insecurity only.


4) Avoid picking and choosing only some of the nine questions – the complete set of questions does a better job of distinguishing the household food insecurity level than any question on its own.


5) The data required for this indicator is prone to seasonal variations. Therefore, if you use HFIAS for measuring your intervention’s impact, the data has to be collected at the same time of the year. It is recommended to collect the data during the worst of the ‘lean season’, because the greatest number of households are likely to be affected by food insecurity at this time. However, if you intend to use HFIAS to help you to identify areas with the greatest number of chronically food-insecure households, do not collect the data in the lean season – you will not be able to differentiate among those who are severely food insecure through many months of the year and those who are food insecure during the lean season only.

Access Additional Guidance

This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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