Breaking down hunger in America

We have been hearing a lot about changes to food and nutrition programs to help address food insecurity. These include increasing SNAP benefits and canceling the Farmers-to-Families food box program.

The pandemic is still causing higher rates of hunger in America, according to the latest food and consumer report from USDA’s Economic Research Service.

As of March, 13.4 percent of adults reported not having enough to eat, known as food insufficiency. That is up from 3.7 percent in December 2019 before the pandemic started.

The report shows higher rates of hunger for certain groups, like black families, who reported 19.5 percent food insufficiency, and Hispanic families at 18 percent. Households with children also reported 6 percent more hunger than households with no children.

Part of the challenge could be rising food prices caused by labor and supply chain challenges created by the pandemic. The ERS food price outlook shows higher retail food prices across the board for this February compared to 2020, including an increase of 3.5 percent for all food at homes, a 6.5 percent increase in beef, and a 5.5 percent increase for fresh produce.

To put food on the table, 8.2 percent of families reported seeking food aid in March.

The most common sources included food banks, family or friends, religious organizations, and other community groups.

USDA used the household pulse survey to create the report, a weekly survey that collects information on employment, housing, and food security.


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