New Federal Data: U.S. Hunger Dips But Still Far Higher Than Pre-Recession

09.07.2016

For Immediate Release:                                                            

September 7, 2016    

Contact: Magen Allen                                                      

MAllen@hungerfreeamerica.org

New Federal Data: U.S. Hunger Dips But Still Far Higher Than Pre-Recession

One in Six U.S. Children Still Lack Sufficient Food

New York State Still 36% Hungrier Than a Decade Ago

Advocates: “Nation’s Empty Bellies Yet to Feel Full Recovery”

Fully 42 million Americans, more than the combined population of California and New Hampshire, struggled against hunger in 2015, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The number of U.S. residents defined by the federal government as “food insecure” decreased by six million people (13 percent) over the past year. While this reflects some improvement in the overall economy, it is still seven million more people (20 percent) than in 2005, before the recession.

In 2015, thirteen million American children – one in six – lived in households that could not afford sufficient food. In New York State, between the years 2013-2015, an average 14.1 percent of residents were food insecure, a number 36 percent higher than a decade ago.

The full USDA report can be found at http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/2137663/err215.pdf

Meanwhile, a report issued this week by the Century Foundation found that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2023 could end food deprivation for almost 1.2 million households, which would represent a 6.5 percent decline in food insecurity nationally.  See:  https://tcf.org/content/report/the-impact-of-a-15-minimum-wage-on-hunger-in-america/

In reaction to these duel reports, Joel Berg, the CEO of Hunger Free America, a national advocacy and direct service organization, said: “With U.S. hunger still 20 percent higher than before the recession, it’s clear that the nation’s tens of millions of empty bellies have yet to feel a full economic recovery. While the dip in hunger over the last year is certainly welcome news, the reality that the U.S. is far hungrier than before the recession proves that this country still suffers from major structural flaws – including low-wages and a shredded government safety net – resulting in the U.S. having the highest rate of hunger in the industrialized world, even per capita.  One simple solution – which could be enacted immediately without a penny of taxpayer funding – is to raise the national minimum wage to $15 per hour.”

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