Food Insecurity Among MSM in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020 Open Access

McLeod, Emma (Spring 2022)

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In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the landscape of food insecurity in part by the rapid increase in unemployment. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are a demographic who may have been distinctly impacted by food insecurity during COVID-19, because food insecurity varies across sexual identities in the United States. This study examines the prevalence and demographic factors of food insecurity among MSM in 2020 in the US and examines the effect of job loss on food insecurity in this population.


Data were from the 2020 cycle of the American Men’s Internet Survey (AMIS), an annual online cross-sectional survey of MSM ages 15 years and older in the United States (N = 13081). The prevalence of food insecurity by race, age, region, and sexual identity were described. The association between job loss during 2020 and food insecurity was examined, controlling for demographic characteristics. The difference between food insecurity in the 2017 and 2020 AMIS data cycles was also tested.


17.7% of MSM were food insecure. Food insecurity among American Indian/Alaska Native (30.9%), Black (21.6%), Hispanic (21.3%), and MSM with other or multiple racial identities (27.4%) was significantly higher than food insecurity among White MSM (14.8%). The lowest prevalence of food insecurity among MSM by region was in the Northeast (14.5%), and older MSM had lower food insecurity than younger MSM. MSM who defined their sexual identities as “other” had significantly higher food insecurity compared to gay MSM. Job loss due to COVID-19 and job loss due to other factors were both significantly associated with food insecurity. Food insecurity also increased from the 2017 AMIS data cycle to the 2020 cycle.


Food insecurity among MSM followed many of the same food insecurity trends as the general population in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Future research may examine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on food insecurity among MSM. Overall, food insecurity in the sample was higher than national estimates of food insecurity in 2020. Therefore, MSM are an important demographic to consider in interventions on food insecurity.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Methods 3

Results 5

Discussion 7

Conclusion 11

Tables 12

References 15

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