Friday, August 12, 2011

Food Hardship in America

In this report the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) looks at rates of food hardship (rates of 
households answering “yes” over the course of a year to the question whether there were times over 
the past year “when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed”) for 
households without children and households with children.  We look at those rates by state, by 
Metropolitan Statistical Area, and by Congressional District. 

Among the findings of deep and widespread food hardship are the following: 

• In 195 Congressional Districts, at least one in four households with children answered “yes” to the 
• In 312 Congressional Districts, at least one in five households with children answered this 
question “yes.” 

• In 40 of America’s 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), more than one in four 
households with children answered “yes.” 

• In 21 states and the District of Columbia the rate for households with children answering “yes” 
exceeded 25 percent. 

This report is the fifth in a series from FRAC analyzing data derived from answers given by hundreds of thousands of households to the question about their inability to purchase enough food posed by the 
Gallup organization as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.  The four previous reports are described briefly at the back of this report.  

In one of those prior reports, FRAC released earlier this year an analysis of national, regional, state, MSA and Congressional District food hardship rates through 2010.  That report did not look separately, however, at rates for households with children compared to households without children.  This report does.  

The specific food question that Gallup has been posing is very similar to one of the questions asked by the federal government in its annual survey of Americans’ food security.  Gallup asks: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that your or your family needed?” FRAC counts “yes” answers as evidencing “food hardship.”  In the annual Census Bureau survey for the federal government (analyzed each year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture), households are asked to say whether “The food that we bought just didn’t last and we didn’t have money to get more,” and then “Was that often, sometimes, or never true for you in the last 12 months?”  This is one of a series of questions asked of households by the Census Bureau to measure what the government calls “food insecurity.”

Go here to see the full report...

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