Nov. 2, 2005 – Over one-tenth of the United States population faced "food insecurity" last year, continuing a five-year trend in growing hunger and household food shortages. According to US Department of Agriculture statistics released last week, hunger affects single-parent and minority households at much higher rates than other demographic groups.
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Reports of food insecurity were up by more than 7 million from 1999 to 2004. At least 38.2 million, or 13 percent, of all US residents lived in households that did not have enough food for all members at all times for an active, healthy life. One-third in such households were children.
In order to be classified by the USDA as "food insecure," households had to agree with at least three statements like: "The food that we bought just didnâ€™t last and we didnâ€™t have money to get more," "We couldnâ€™t afford to eat balanced meals," or "The children were not eating enough because we just couldnâ€™t afford enough food."
In an analysis of the USDA numbers, the Center on Hunger and Poverty noted that nearly half of all households lacking enough food in 2004 had incomes above 130 percent of the poverty rate, an income level that makes them ineligible for food stamps under the budget plans currently under congressional consideration.
According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report published last week, the House-proposed agriculture budget would cut about 225,000 people from the food-stamp program. Additionally, 70,000 or more documented immigrants would have their access to such aid delayed or denied under the plan.