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Number of households facing hunger decreases

usdaThe number of people facing hunger in the U.S. has been steadily declining, and a new USDA report showed a significant drop last year.

The number of food-insecure households fell from 12.3 percent in 2016 to 11.8 percent in 2017, according to the USDA. While the data shows a steady six-year decline, the number of households experiencing food insecurity is still higher than the pre-recession rate of 11.1 percent, the agency said.

The USDA defines food insecurity as scenarios in which “access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources.”

“Farmers are helping to provide resources to decrease food insecurity in Virginia,” remarked Andrew Smith, associate director of governmental relations for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. He noted that Virginia’s Food Crops Donation Tax Credit is available to farmers who make donations of locally produced food to nonprofit food banks.

Households facing very low food security also declined in 2017, moving from 4.9 percent in 2016 to 4.5 percent in 2017. Very low food security means “food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources.”

Food insecurity rates varied from state to state, with Hawaii having the lowest rate, 7.4 percent, and New Mexico having the highest, 17.9 percent. Regionally, the prevalence of food insecurity was significantly higher in the South than in the other three regions.

More than half of food-insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest federal food and nutrition assistance programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; and the National School Lunch Program during the month prior to the survey.

Food insecurity among children remained relatively static, essentially unchanged from 8 percent of households with children.

Read the full report here.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press