Food insecurity, or not having reliable access to a sufficient amount of affordable nutritious food, rose among Black households, particularly Black families with children last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A newly released report by the USDA found that Black and Latino households with children overall saw increases in food insecurity in 2020, rising to 21.7% from 19.1% in 2019. The report found that while 89.5% of the US population was food secure throughout 2020, 10.5% or about 13.8 million households reported not being able to provide enough food.
“While children are usually shielded from the disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake that characterize very low food security, in 2020, children along with adults suffered instances of very low security in 0.8 percent of households with children (322,000 households),” the report reads.
Households that were food insecure prior to the pandemic, faced greater levels of food insecurity, the report found, particularly among households headed up by single women or single men and households with incomes below the federal poverty threshold.
Food insecurity rose in southern states while the Midwest saw drops in food insecurity.
Food insecurity was highest among all American households between November and December 2020 as COVID-19 cases rose to record-high levels. At the time, food banks across the nation reported long lines and increase in demand, as new cases spiked.
The report highlights the economic devastation brought about by the pandemic and further supports data that shows Black families were more vulnerable to economic instability during the pandemic –– due in part because of the 2008 financial crisis.
Increased government aid, some experts say, prevented an all-out hunger crisis in the country as SNAP benefits were expanded through the spring and summer of 2021.
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