News

USDA: 17M households are ‘food insecure’

USDA: 17M households are ‘food insecure’

ENOUGH TO EAT: Although the prevalence of sporadic food insecurity has fallen, the number of households with very low food security is persistent, USDA said, even as the U.S. economy has moved on from a severe recession that ended in 2009 and the job market has slowly recovered. Photo: Reuters

By Ros Krasny

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The percentage of Americans regarded as “food insecure” – lacking access to enough food for a healthy life – has declined in the past few years but still represents over 17 million households, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

About 14.3 percent of households were termed food insecure in 2013, down from 14.9 percent in 2011.

Rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average in households with incomes near or below the poverty line, those headed by single women or single men, and those headed by blacks and Hispanics, USDA’s Economic Research Service said in an annual report.

Food insecurity was also more common in large cities and rural areas than in suburban and exurban areas.

Although the prevalence of sporadic food insecurity has fallen, the number of households with very low food security is persistent, USDA said, even as the U.S. economy has moved on from a severe recession that ended in 2009 and the job market has slowly recovered.

Some 5.6 percent, or 6.8 million households, had very low food security in 2013, meaning that the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times due to limited resources.

USDA said children, though, are usually shielded from the disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake that characterize very low food security.

Among states, the rates of very low food security in 2013 ranged from 3.1 percent in North Dakota to 8.4 percent in Arkansas.

Almost two-thirds of food-insecure households surveyed by USDA reported that in the previous month they had participated in federal food and nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.

About 46.2 million Americans – many of them children or the elderly – are currently enrolled in SNAP, down slightly from a peak of almost 47.8 million, in December 2012.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Recent Headlines

3 hours ago in Sports

The best sports shots this week

A horse is ridden to the track for a workout at Churchill Downs Thursday, May 5, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. The 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 7. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A look back at some of the biggest plays and best moments in sports this week.

3 hours ago in Sports

The weekend sports schedule

derby16125540087682

Here’s a look at some of the sporting events taking place this weekend.

4 hours ago in National

Making headlines this week

A member of the NATO parachute demonstration team lands during a change of command ceremony at NATO military headquarters in Mons, southern Belgium on Wednesday May 4, 2016. U.S. Army General Curtis  M. Scaparrotti was installed as NATO's 18th supreme allied commander Europe (SACEUR). The commander, by tradition an American general or admiral, is responsible for the overall direction and conduct of NATO's global military operations. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

A look back at some of the biggest stories this week and the headlines you may have missed.

4 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Anti-hunger group uses fake app to fool, educate

18-overlay

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 14 percent of Americans, or more than 17 million people, are what is called food insecure, meaning at times of the year, they are uncertain of being able to acquire enough food for their household.

7 hours ago in National

Top reason Americans will vote for Trump: ‘To stop Clinton’

trumpREUTERS

The U.S. presidential election may turn out to be one of the world's biggest un-popularity contests.