New Data Underscore Need To Protect And Improve Federal Nutrition Programs
Contact: Colleen Barton Sutton, 202-640-1121, firstname.lastname@example.org
BALTIMORE, June 30, 2016 — The food hardship rate in Maryland dropped from 14 percent in 2014 to 12.8 percent in 2015, but still too many people across the state reported in 2015 that they struggled to afford enough food for their households, according to a new report, How Hungry is America? (pdf), released today by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC).
The report provides data on food hardship — the inability to afford enough food — for the nation, every state, the District of Columbia, and 109 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), including Baltimore-Columbia-Towson in Maryland. The report found that nationally the food hardship rate was 16 percent in 2015, dipping three points from 18.9 percent in 2013, and the lowest rate since early 2008. Despite the improvement, the report reveals that still no corner of the country is immune to hunger.
The report’s data reveals:
Maryland was among the states with the lowest levels of food hardship, and ranked 42 out of 50, with 12.8 percent in the state in 2014 reporting they were unable to afford enough food. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson ranked 85th out of 109 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), with a food hardship rate of 14.3 percent for 2014-2015.
“It’s good that we’re making progress, but it is unacceptable that there are still too many people across Maryland who cannot afford enough food to provide for their families,” said Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “These data are more than just numbers. They are households with children, seniors, veterans, working adults, and people with disabilities who are struggling to make ends meet.”
Maryland Hunger Solutions is urging Congress to do right by their constituents by protecting and strengthening federal nutrition programs, such as the Food Supplement Program in Maryland, and school meals programs.
“In the face of Congressional inaction, we are glad that Governor Hogan and the state legislature are taking action by adding a state supplement to the minimum food stamp benefit and supporting the community eligibility provision for schools in our state,” said Wilson.
Maryland Hunger Solutions is also urging organizations to join a statewide letter to the Maryland Congressional delegation in opposition to the House effort to reauthorize child nutrition programs.
“Food hardship is a problem in every corner of America. People are still struggling,” said Jim Weill, FRAC president, noting that too many Americans bear the brunt of insufficient wages, unemployment, involuntary part-time employment, and inadequate safety nets to lift or keep them out of poverty. “Congress must protect and strengthen nutrition programs and other programs that benefit low-income people, and build a strong safety net.”
How Hungry is America? contains data throughout 2015 for every state and 109 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing hundreds of households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” A “yes” answer to this question is considered to signal that the household experienced food hardship.
The full report is available at www.frac.org.