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New Federal Report: U.S. Hunger Still Sky High
No Decrease in U.S. Food Insecurity Despite Record Wall Street Markets
49 Million Americans – and 16 Million U.S. Kids – Still Lack Sufficient Food
Numbers Don’t Reflect Impact of Recent SNAP (Food Stamps Cuts)
USDA's annual report on U.S. household food security, released this morning, reported no decrease in U.S. food insecurity and hunger in 2013, despite today’s record Wall Street stock market levels. 49 million Americans – and 16 million kids – still lack sufficient food. These numbers do not reflect the impact of recent cuts to SNAP (Food Stamps).
In 2013, according to USDA, there was a statistically insignificant increase in the total number of people living in food insecure households, even as there was a small, statistically insignificant decrease in the percentage of people living in food insecure households. In other words, the level of U.S. food insecurity and hunger were about the same in 2013 and in 2012, at a rate far higher than the rate before the recession. One in seven Americans overall – and one in five U.S. children – still struggle against hunger.
Overall U.S. food insecurity is still 35 percent higher, and food insecurity in households with children is still 27 percent higher, than in 2007, before the recession.
New York City Coalition Against Hunger Executive Director Joel Berg said, "A country that combines massive hunger with record Wall Street markets is so derailed we can't even find our tracks anymore. These startling numbers prove there has been no true economic recovery for tens of millions of struggling U.S. families. This should be a wake-up call to the nation that we need to abandon the country's conservative policies that crush unions, oppose wage hikes, outsource jobs, and slash spending for vulnerable families. It is clearer than ever that we need a massive new government jobs program, a significant increase in the minimum wage, and a robust increase in the federal nutrition safety net programs. "
An estimated 85.7 percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2013, while the prevalence rate of very low food security was essentially unchanged from 5.7 percent in 2011 and 2012, according to the USDA report. Children and adults were food-insecure in 9.9 percent of households with children in 2013, essentially unchanged from 10.0 percent in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the typical food-secure household spent 30 percent more on food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and household composition.
Berg continued, "It is vital to note that this new data was collected before most of the recent SNAP (food stamps) cuts kicked in. Given the pain measured in these numbers, I can only imagine that next year's report, which will include the impact of the recent cuts, will more formally document the mass suffering we are already seeing on the ground from coast to coast."
Sixty-two percent of all food-insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs during the month prior to the 2013 survey.
Full federal report available here: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1565415/err173.pdf