Too many homes are going hungry in the U.S. amid rising grocery prices, reports show.
When the cost of living rises and inflation is high, it becomes harder and harder for many people to afford the basic staples that they need to live, especially when it comes to their groceries. Food is high on that list, of course, and food insecurity rates are at increasingly high levels across the country, new data shows. Even worse, there are specific groups that are far more likely to be food insecure than the rest of the general population, and people in those categories deserve attention and assistance to stay healthy.
It doesn’t take long to look at the numbers around food insecurity rates to see that a serious problem is at hand. As a starting point, somewhere around 13% of all Americans report having been food insecure within the past year. Don’t let that percentage fool you into thinking that it’s a relatively small number – at 13%, that leaves more than 17 million families facing this issue.
Further, the numbers are much worse for people in specific demographic groups. Among Black families, the percentage rises to 22%, and it goes all the way up beyond 33% when it is families led by a single mother. These populations face food-related challenges at a rate far higher than what everyone else is experiencing, and it takes a toll on them in every part of life.
There were some programs put into place during the pandemic to help aid with food insecurity, and those helped to cut down on how many people didn’t have enough to eat. However, those programs are gradually winding down, or have already been stopped, meaning the jump in food insecurity reports was inevitable. Given the ongoing economic challenges in the aftermath of the pandemic, and the sudden lack of options for people who need help securing food, this is a problem that feels like it is poised to get worse before it gets better.
When a family is food insecure, the problem ranges far beyond the practical issue of needing to find enough calories to eat. Along with the lack of food comes many mental health challenges including depression and anxiety. Facing those issues will make it even harder for someone to dig out from the situation they are dealing with – and the cycle tends to continue long into the future. It’s hard to find work or find higher-paying work when so much time and energy is being put into simply figuring out how to supply dinner for the family.
There are many ways in which food insecurity problems can be approached. From working on making more employment opportunities available to bringing down the cost of food, along with supporting food bank programs that make food available to those in need, there are many ways to attack the issue. It’s likely a combination of awareness and resources that will be able to gradually cut down on this problem and help more and more people get the calories they need.