Nearly seven million U.S. households suffered from severe hunger or "very low food security" over the course of 2012, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According to the report, about 14% of all U.S. households experienced some kind of food insecurity in 2012—about 17.6 million households overall. That number is largely unchanged since a spike in food insecurity in 2007 that came with the economic recession.
U.S. households with children experienced greater food insecurity, according to the report: about 20% with children experienced some food insecurity. Among households with children:
- 80% were food secure;
- 10% experienced food insecurity, but only among the adults in the household;
- 8.8% experienced " low" food security among children; and
- 1.2% experienced "very low" food security among children.
According to National Journal's Matt Berman, about "8.3 million children lived in homes where at least one child was food insecure…but the adults in these households were typically worse off."
The "bleak" numbers spiked for households led by a single woman and among ethnic minorities. Nearly 25% of black, non-Hispanic households experienced food insecurity, compared with 11% of white, non-Hispanic households, according to the report.
Among all U.S. states, Mississippi had the highest rate of food insecurity; nearly 21% of Mississippi households went hungry. Meanwhile North Dakota had the lowest, with just 8.7% of households dealing with food insecurity (Berman, National Journal, 9/5).