Journal of Food Security
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Journal of Food Security. 2021, 9(1), 8-18
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-9-1-2
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Food Insecurity, Social Vulnerability, and the Impact of COVID-19 on Population Dependent on Public Assistance / SNAP: A Case Study of South Carolina, USA

I.C. Esobi1, , M. K. Lasode2, C. I Anyanwu2, M.O Flores Barriguete3, M. A. Okorie4 and D.O Lasode5

1Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Science, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA

2Department of Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA

3El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank, El Paso, Texas, USA

4College of Nursing, Chamberlain University, San Antonio, Texas, USA

5Africa Regional Centre for Information Science, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

Pub. Date: December 28, 2020

Cite this paper:
I.C. Esobi, M. K. Lasode, C. I Anyanwu, M.O Flores Barriguete, M. A. Okorie and D.O Lasode. Food Insecurity, Social Vulnerability, and the Impact of COVID-19 on Population Dependent on Public Assistance / SNAP: A Case Study of South Carolina, USA. Journal of Food Security. 2021; 9(1):8-18. doi: 10.12691/jfs-9-1-2


Apart from clinical and epidemiological factors, a multitude of demographic, social, and economic factors also influence the extent of the coronavirus disease prevalence within a population. Consequently, there is ongoing discourse regarding the socio-economic predictors of COVID-19. This study explores the influence of several demographic and socio-economic variables on COVID-19 cases in all 46 counties of South Carolina, USA as of October 18, 2020. To understand the level of association between the demographic and socio-economic variables with the coronavirus disease outcome, we employed a spatial mapping technique in a geographic information system (GIS) to assess social vulnerabilities of populations dependent on public assistance income and spatially compared the distribution with COVID-19 cases across the 46 counties in South Carolina, USA. We find that dependence on food stamps showed a positive but weak correlation to COVID-19. For individual variables, Age and poverty were strongly associated with dependence on public assistance and were determined to be major predictors of COVID-19. Social vulnerability assessment showed an interesting spatial pattern of counties with high prevalence of COVID-19 cases also having high social vulnerabilities. The results complement knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic beyond clinical and biological risk factors by assessing socio-economic perspectives and determinants. Findings from this study can inform policy decisions on poverty alleviation, public assistance, and food security programs.

food insecurity COVID-19 social vulnerability SNAP

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