1 in 8 U.S. households struggle with food insecurity: USDA

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People wait in line for a meal served by Queens Together, local restaurants and The First Baptist Church with help of Northwell Health and Ponce Bank in New York on May 6, 2023.

Selcuk Acar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The department’s findings come from an annual survey of nearly 32,000 households conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“There is no excuse for anyone going hungry in America,” said Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center. “Congress must act now to make substantial investments in anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs.”

Consequences of expired pandemic-era aid

Pandemic-era aid programs, including the emergency expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, rental assistance and direct stimulus payments, led to a record decline in poverty, experts say. At the same time, food insecurity rates fell, too.

“It speaks to the importance of a strong safety net,” Dean said.

However, most of these relief measures wound down or expired in 2022, with many states reducing their emergency SNAP allotments.

“The unwinding of critical Covid-19 pandemic interventions has made it more difficult for millions of families to afford to put food on the table,” Guardia said.

Those facing food insecurity are at more than double the risk of experiencing anxiety and depression, one study found. Food insecurity is also associated with a much higher likelihood of developing multiple chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Last year, the American College of Physicians said food insecurity had become a threat to public health in the U.S.

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