The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service released its annual study measuring food security in the United States, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.
The alarming results show that 1 in 6 Americans is still food insecure and now more than 50 million Americans. This includes 1 in 4 children.
Key highlights from the study:
•More than 50 million people (16.6%) are food insecure—up from 36 million since the beginning of recession in Dec. 2007 (39% increase), but only 2% increase over 2008.
•People living in very low food security stayed very stable between 2008 and 2009, suggesting that food safety net is supporting those most in-need. Important to remember that still represents a 48% increase in the number of people in very low food security since the start of the recession (Dec. 2007).
•The number of meals secured for clients by the Feeding America network rose by 24% between 2009 and 2008 (including both directly distributed food and SNAP application assistance).
•Increased emergency food, coupled with a stronger safety net, kept the numbers stable this year. People most likely to be eligible for SNAP (those with incomes below 130% poverty rate) have experienced slight decreases in their food insecurity. SNAP is working.
•However, 1 in 4 children is still food insecure. We know that when children don’t receive adequate nutrition, particularly under the age of five, the long-term damage on their cognitive development cannot be restored. Must support CNR and ensure that SNAP is restored. Without these critical programs, FI might rise again.
•This data also reinforces the fact that food insecurity disproportionately affects Hispanic households. The number of Hispanic children in food insecurity continues to rise, even as other ethnic groups remain stable or even decrease.