The Common Good
February 2010

Hungry Americans

by Jeannie Choi | February 2010

While some U.S. households are cutting out entertainment to make ends meet during the economic recession, others are going hungry. In 2008, the U.S.

While some U.S. households are cutting out entertainment to make ends meet during the economic recession, others are going hungry. In 2008, the U.S. recorded the highest percentage of hungry households—or those with “low food security”—since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) started tracking food security trends in 1995, according to a USDA study released in November. Adults in 17 million households experienced disruptions to their normal eating patterns, or were forced to fall back on coping mechanisms such as community food pantries, due to the lack of funds. Additionally, the number of children in food-insecure U.S. households has reached 22.5 percent—that’s 4.2 million more hungry kids than in 2007.

10.4 million
Number of households in the U.S. with low food security. Further, 6.7 million households report very low food security—in which meals are skipped because they cannot afford food.
 
42%
The percentage of U.S. households with incomes below the poverty line that were food insecure.
 
3.7 million
The number of African-American households that reported food insecurity. Rates of food insecurity were substantially higher in African-American (25.7%) and Hispanic (26.9%) households than in white non-Hispanic homes (10.7%).
 
37.2%
The percentage of U.S. households with single mothers that experienced low food security in 2008.
Source: “Household Food Security in the United States, 2008” (USDA, November 2009)
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