Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS)

Date of Design: 
Version 3: 2007
Contact Institution: 
Pathway Component: 
Food Access


Brief Description: The Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) is a method based on the idea that the experience of food insecurity (access) causes predictable reactions and responses that can be captured and quantified through a survey and summarized in a scale. The intent of the guide is to provide a way for food security programs to easily measure the impact of their programs on the access component of household food insecurity. 

Uses: The information generated by the HFIAS can be used to: 

  • Assess the prevalence of household insecurity (access), e.g. for geographic targeting.
  • Detect changes in the household food insecurity (access) situation of a population over time. 

Tool Components: The HFIAS guide includes the following primary components: 

  1. Adapting the Questionnaire
  2. Interviewer Instructions
  3. Questionnaire Format
  4. Indicator Tabulation Plan 


Number of Staff Required: One interviewer is required to interview one household, so the number of interviewers will be determined by the budget and the number of households. 

Time: The administration of the questionnaire requires approximately 15 minutes per household. 

Cost of Assessment: Not specified; this will be determined by the context and the number of households interviewed.

Training: Interviewers will require training, though the guide does not specify the length. 

Geographic Targeting: The HFIAS is a tool used at household level; broader assessment goals and sampling techniques will determine area targeting. The prevalence calculations resulting from the HFIAS can support geographic targeting exercises.

Type of Data Collection: The HFIAS is a household survey. 

Degree of Technical Difficulty: The HFIAS is a relatively simple indicator, but interviewers must be trained to ensure they understand the questions and can provide examples when the respondent does not. 

Complements other Resources: The HFIAS focuses on household food access. A more complete measure of food security should include measures of availability and utilization.

This summary is part of a larger resource called the Context Assessment Tool Locator.