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Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nearly 50 million lack adequate food in U.S.


More than 49 million working people in the United States lacked access to adequate food last year, the largest number since the government started keeping track of “food insecurity” 14 years ago. This is an increase of 4 percent from the previous year, according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The report, which is based on Census Bureau surveys conducted in December 2008, said that nearly 17 million children—more than one in five—were living in households that lacked enough food.

The number of children who sometimes were “outright hungry” rose from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million in one year, reported the Washington Post.

Nearly 15 percent of people of all ages did not consistently have adequate food last year, compared with about 11 percent in 2007. The Post called this “the greatest deterioration in access to food during a single year in the history of the report.”

More than one in three single mothers raising children faced food shortages, the report notes. It also said that Blacks and Latinos were more than twice as likely as whites to face food scarcity sometime during the year.

Levels of hunger have undoubtedly risen further through 2009, with official unemployment figures increasing from 7.2 percent last December to 10.2 percent today. The Post reported that “other recent research by the agency [USDA] has found that most families in which food is scarce contain at least one adult with a full-time job, suggesting that the problem lies at least partly in wages.”

Those described as facing “very low food security,” about 17.3 million people, had to skip meals, cut portions, or forgo food for a few days seven or eight months out of the year, according to the USDA.

Many have depended on visits to food banks, soup kitchens, and food stamps. More than 36 million people received food stamps in August, the eighth month in a row that enrollment set a record, according to Reuters.

President Barack Obama, who has promised to end childhood hunger by 2015, released a statement while traveling in Asia, saying the report’s findings are “particularly troubling.”