New USDA Report Shows 44% Increase in Child Food Insecurity
In October of 2023, the United States Department of Agriculture released economic research that showed alarming statistics relating to food insecurity in the United States during 2022. The research revealed this is the highest rate of food insecurity the United States has seen since 2014, with food insecurity increasing in almost every population studied.
In 2022, 44 million individuals were food insecure, with 13 million individuals being children, meaning they had limited or uncertain access to enough food for everyone in a household to live a healthy, active lifestyle. This is a staggering 44% increase in child food insecurity from the prior year.
Much of this quick increase is due to inflation and the cancellation of programs that existed during COVID-19. The government funding provided to food relief programs during the pandemic had a positive impact on our communities and caused food insecurity to decline. The erasure of these programs, along with rising inflation, has put families back into a difficult spot financially, and many are having to seek help from food assistance programs again.
“With the increased need, we are actively seeking out new partner agencies and trying to make people aware of where they can go to receive food assistance,” said KiEtha Gage, Programs and Agencies Manager. “ We are focusing on working with agencies in parishes that have higher rates of food insecurity.”
While poverty is a driver of food insecurity, many other circumstances can result in individuals facing hunger. This is made evident by the fact that two-thirds of people who experienced food insecurity in 2022 had incomes above the poverty line. Research from the USDA also revealed the upsetting statistic that 36% of people experiencing food insecurity may be ineligible for federal programs.
Food insecurity at the state level is also alarmingly high, with Louisiana ranking #1 in child and senior hunger. Research from Feeding America indicates that 1 in 5 children in Louisiana are food insecure.
The data that the USDA provided shows how widespread the issue of food insecurity is. It affects both rural and urban communities. In the past year, food insecurity has increased among every group of race and ethnicity. Children, adolescents, adults, and seniors all face hunger. Food insecurity can affect anyone, and many of our neighbors face it daily.
The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is committed to meeting individuals and families wherever they are and when they need us most. We will be there to meet the challenge and fill the void. To learn more about food insecurity and view food insecurity statistics by parish in our 11-parish service area, visit brfoodbank.org.