New data shows that the country’s economic woes are making it harder for Black families to put food on the table. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reporting that 25.1 percent of African-American households struggled with food insecurity in 2010 and those numbers climb even higher for families with children and those headed by a single mother.
“High rates of unemployment have made it difficult for many U.S. households to put food on the table — but communities of color continue to be disproportionately impacted,” said Rev. Derrick Boykin, associate for African-American Leadership Outreach at Bread for the World.
The USDA measures levels of food “security” or “insecurity” on the frequency of a family’s reported instances of food shortage and disrupted eating patterns due to food shortages.
According to the report, most food-insecure households relied on one or more of the country’s nutrition assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid and WIC, meaning food insecurity among these groups could increase as funding for these programs are cut. The organization Bread for the World worries that the next phase of the budget-balancing needed to reduce the country’s deficit may cut money from programs that are helping to keep hungry families afloat.
“It is unconscionable that Congress is considering cuts to programs that help families make ends meet,” added Boykin. “As Congress returns from August recess to resume budget and deficit reduction debates, we must urge members to expand the circle of protection around programs that offset the ongoing impacts of the recession as millions of Americans work to meet their basic needs.”
Although African-American and Latino families topped the charts in terms of numbers of families suffering from food insecurity, the growing problem of hunger in America is more than a race-based matter. Reuters reports that in May of 2011, a third of all people in Alabama, which is 26.2 percent Black according to the 2010 U.S. Census, were on food stamps and Washington, D.C. (50.7 percent Black), and Mississippi (37 percent Black) had about a fifth of their population on food stamps that month.
(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)