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12 Percent of Washington, D.C. Households Struggling with Hunger
Washington, D.C. – September 6, 2013 – One in eight households in Washington, D.C. struggled with hunger on average in the years 2010-2012, according to new data released earlier this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service in its annual report on food insecurity. Nationally, more than 48.9 million people lived in households that were food insecure in 2012 – 14.1 percent of all adults and 21.6 percent of all children lived in food insecure households.
These new food insecurity numbers come as Members of Congress are preparing to return to Washington, D.C. next week from their August recess. The Farm Bill remains on Congress’ agenda, and the House majority leadership – which passed earlier this summer a partial Farm Bill that did not include a nutrition title – is expected to introduce a bill that would strip $40 billion in funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), throwing millions of people out of the program.
“Given the level of food insecurity that continues to persist in Washington, D.C., Congress needs to stop asking how much to cut from SNAP and other low-income programs and start acting on what is going to help struggling families,” said Alexandra Ashbrook, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions. “We remind all Members of Congress – who live and work in this city – to protect the federal nutrition programs from deficit-cutting measures. Cutting SNAP would cause irreparable harm to low-income people in the District and across the nation.”
Among the 12 percent of households in Washington, D.C. considered to be food insecure during the 2010-2012 period, 4.5 percent were households with “very low food security.” Households 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.
Ashbrook also noted that the public rejects proposals to cut SNAP. Recent polling by Hart Research Associates for the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows that Americans of all types oppose cuts to SNAP, and they believe the government should – and must – do more to address hunger.
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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.