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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Adach, 202-986-2200 x3018
Washington, D.C. – March 3, 2011 – Nearly one in five Americans struggled to afford enough food for themselves and their families in 2010, according to a new report released today by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The report also reveals the extent of this struggle through 2010 in every congressional district and 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas (MSA), providing a unique up-to-date examination of how millions of American households in every part of the country continue to face a struggle with hunger.
The report analyzes data that were collected by Gallup and provided to FRAC. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing almost 1,000 households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”
Gallup’s data reveal pervasive food hardship at every level:
“The data in this report show that food hardship – running out of money to buy the food that families need – is a substantial challenge in every corner of this country,” said Jim Weill, FRAC President. “While the nation’s Great Recession may have technically ended in mid-2009, it has not yet ended for many of the nation’s households. For them, 2010 was the third year of a terrible recession that is widely damaging the ability to meet basic needs.”
In its report FRAC noted that in 2010 the government’s “U-6” index – which reflects a combination of traditional unemployment, involuntary part-time workers, and discouraged workers – was generally comparable to that in 2009 and much higher than in 2008. In late 2010 the rate was higher than earlier in the year – hovering around 17 percent. This helps explain why food hardship rates are so high and are receding so slowly.
“There still are unprecedented numbers of Americans who are struggling with no wages or low wages, and we can see the impact of that struggle in the food hardship data,” said Weill. “We have to strengthen programs that benefit those who are trying to make ends meet. We have the resources, even in these difficult times, to eliminate hunger in this country. The consequences of not doing this are far too severe, and the moral cost is even greater. We can’t afford to leave people behind, especially when we can see that so many are struggling.”
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The Food Research and Action Center (www.frac.org) is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and undernutrition in the United States.