The economy has improved a lot in recent years, but there are still millions of hardworking Americans facing hunger. The rising cost of food is making their lives even more difficult.
According to a study from hunger-relief organization Feeding America, food-insecure individuals now face, on average, a food budget shortfall of $527.19 per person per year.
Even accounting for inflation, this is an increase of 13 percent since 2008, the first full year of the Great Recession.
This rising measure of need suggest that people facing hunger are likely falling further behind as they continue to struggle to buy enough food to meet their needs.
These findings are particularly surprising as the number of Americans identified by the USDA as food insecure fell from 50 million in 2009 to 42 million in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available.
Food insecurity is a measure defined by the USDA as lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
Food insecurity exists in every county in the nation, from a high of 38 percent in Jefferson County, Mississippi, to a low of 3 percent in Grant County, Kansas.
Children are at greater risk of hunger than the general population. Across all counties, 21 percent are food insecure, compared to 14 percent among the general population.
These are grim findings, indeed, and show us that we cannot forget those people who struggle to meet basic needs, even though the economy is stronger.
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