FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara McGovern, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-640-1089
BALTIMORE, MD – September 3, 2014 – One in eight households in Maryland struggled with hunger, on average, over the years 2011-2013, according to new data released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service in its annual report on food insecurity.
Nationally, more than 17.5 million American (14.3 percent) households, with 49 million adults and children, struggled against hunger in 2013, a number statistically unchanged from the 2012 rate, but a slight dip from the 2011 rate of 14.9 percent.
This high and persistent level of hunger underscores the immense need to strengthen the food safety net by increasing SNAP benefit allotments and expanding child nutrition programs.
“With one in eight Maryland households still struggling against hunger, this data shows a new reality for too many throughout the state, said Michael J. Wilson, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “Hunger and poverty spiked at the beginning of the recession, and have remained high ever since. It’s time for Congress to focus on strengthening, not cutting, the federal nutrition programs, and protecting Maryland’s most vulnerable citizens. And it’s time for Annapolis to do its share to fully utilize these federal programs.”
Among the 13 percent of households in Maryland considered to be food insecure during the 2011-2013 period, 5 percent were considered to have “very low food security.” People that fall into this USDA category had more severe problems, experiencing deeper hunger and cutting back or skipping meals on a more frequent basis for both adults and children.
“The economy has taken a toll on Maryland. In spite of all of our successful outreach with FSP, school feeding programs, WIC, and outreach to seniors, over the past decade food insecurity has increased in Maryland,” said Wilson. “It’s clear that these programs are needed as much now as ever.”
Visit FRAC’s website at www.frac.org for ongoing analysis.
About the USDA Report
Since 1995, the United States Department of Agriculture, using data from surveys conducted annually by the Census Bureau, has released national and state estimates of the number of people in households that are food insecure. Food insecure households are those that are not able to afford an adequate diet at all times in the past 12 months. For states, USDA uses three-year averages to give a better estimate (with a smaller margin of error) of the number of households experiencing food insecurity. Experts agree that the Census/USDA measure of food insecurity is a conservative one, with the result that only households experiencing substantial food insecurity are so classified.
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