FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Adach, 202.986.2200 x3018
Washington, D.C. – September 3, 2014 – More than 17.5 million American (14.3 percent) households struggled against hunger in 2013, according to new data released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service. The 2013 numbers were unchanged (in terms of statistical significance) from the 2012 rate, when 14.5 percent were considered to be food insecure, but a slight dip from the 2011 rate of 14.9 percent. The rate is, however, far above the 11.1 percent rate in 2007, before the recession.
The very low food security rate – describing households that faced deeper struggles with hunger – was 5.6 percent in 2013, compared to 4.1 percent in 2007 before the recession.
“Hunger continues to plague too many Americans. We can end hunger in this country, but that takes political will. It is up to our nation’s leaders – Congress, the President, state and local officials – to make sure that workers can earn family supporting wages, and that income supports and nutrition assistance programs reach more people in need and provide more adequate benefits,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center. “That means strengthening, not cutting or limiting nutrition programs. For starters, Congress should look at ways to improve Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit levels.”
“Ending hunger is an investment that our nation should – and must – make,” concluded Weill.
Other findings from the USDA report include:
Visit FRAC’s website at www.frac.org for ongoing analysis of the food insecurity numbers.
About the USDA Report
Since 1995, the United States Department of Agriculture, using data from surveys conducted annually by the Census Bureau, has released estimates of the number of people in households that are food insecure. Food insecure households are those that are not able to afford an adequate diet at all times in the past 12 months. The report also includes food insecurity rates for each state, but for states it uses three-year averages to give a better estimate of the number of households experiencing food insecurity. Experts agree that the Census/USDA measure of food insecurity is a conservative one, with the result that only households experiencing substantial food insecurity are so classified.