As Economy Continues To Stumble, More and More Americans Require Food Assistance

Percentage of Americans on Food Assistance - IllustrationAccording to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (HT: ABC News), nearly 50 million Americans were "food insecure" in 2009.

Food insecurity, according to the USDA, is defined as being uncertain as to whether or not the income and/or resources are available to adequately provide for the food needs of all family members.

This is quite a startling fact when you consider that the entire population of the United States is around 307 million people. This means that approximately 16.3% of the population of the United States was in a "food insecure" environment last year. Take a college football stadium and fill it with 100,000 people, and over 16,000 of those people would be considered to be "food insecure" based on these stats from the US Department of Agriculture.

Who is to blame? Fingers will be pointed at different areas, but one thing is for certain - this is a pretty unbelievable statistic for one of the most powerful nations in the world.

The ABC News article also points out that:

-1 in 10 families with children worried about food at some point last year

-500,000 to 1 million families were so poor during 2009 that their children had to go without eating at some point

The article points out that these numbers would be much more catastrophic if not for the increased support of the federal government. Unemployment numbers have surged since the onset of the "Great Recession" in December of 2007, but hunger numbers have remained steady since 2008 thanks to the increased support from the US taxpayer.

How is the US taxpayer helping? According to ABC News:

1. 25% of Americans are currently enrolled in some type of a federal feeding program

2. 42 million Americans receive benefits under SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)

3. Breakfast and lunch is purchased for 30 million children

4. Nine million mothers receive assistance under the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program


In its ominous conclusion, the article on ABC News points out that food prices are expected to significantly climb in 2011, which will put an increased burden on American families and the federal government. Unemployment is not expected to drop anytime soon (an average unemployment rate of approximately 10% is currently being forecast for 2011), which will just create even more strain on the system as a whole.

Not exactly heart-warming stuff, especially ahead of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

It's interesting to note, as I was searching through, that the US Department of Health and Human Services devised a plan (titled "Healthy People 2010") that set to reduce food insecurity to just 6% by 2010. Guess it didn't work..

Percentage of Americans Receiving Food Assistance

Source: - One in Four Americans Is Enrolled In a Government Food Program

Filed under: The Economic Meltdown

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