September 7, 2017

Hunger Declines, But Budget Cuts Could Reverse Progress

Most Vulnerable, Least Visible in Medicare Debate: Older Americans. Photo: Bread for the World

Washington, D.C. – New data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed that 12.3 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2016, declining further from a peak of 14.9 percent in 2011. Bread for the World warned that significant cuts to programs that help people living in hunger and poverty could reverse the progress that has been made.

“Unemployment has declined. Hunger has declined. Enrollment in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) has declined, too,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

“There is political pressure from the president, and some in Congress, for unprecedented cuts to anti-poverty programs,” Beckmann added. “If Congress slashes the programs that help families who struggle with hunger and poverty, food insecurity and hunger will increase again.”

The USDA’s annual report, “Household Food Security in the United States in 2016,” shows that more than 41 million Americans, including nearly 13 million children, lived at risk of hunger in 2016. That is 12.3 percent of U.S. households. 

Communities of color experienced higher rates of food insecurity than the general U.S. population. More than 22.5 percent of African-American households and 18.5 percent of Latino households experienced food insecurity – at nearly twice the national rate in 2016.

According to the USDA, food insecurity is “when consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”

The system of safety-net programs launched in the 1960s has substantially reduced hunger, even though the wages of low-income workers have been stagnant for decades.

“Safety-net programs were a lifeline to millions of families when unemployment soared during the Great Recession,” Beckmann said. “We can’t let President Trump and our current Congress take this security away from all the American families struggling to get by.”  

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • Mind the Gap: Nutrition to Bridge Humanitarian and Development Efforts

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    Because the world has made so much progress against hunger in recent decades, those who face hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty are increasingly likely to live in areas currently experiencing or recovering from crises. They are the hardest to reach and the most...

  • International Development Association (IDA) and Nutrition

    Improving maternal and child nutrition is the most cost-effective investment in international human and economic development.

    Improving nutrition not only alleviates human suffering, but also improves the conditions that create poverty in the first place. For every $1 invested in...

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
     

  • Interfaith Religious Leaders’ Pledge to End Hunger

    A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.

    We are deeply pleased...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

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  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.

  • El Dream Act de 2017 (S. 1615 & H.R. 3440)

    Estados Unidos es una nación de inmigrantes. A través de su historia gente de todas partes del mundo se han trasladado aquí y han contribuido en sus comunidades y a nuestra vida nacional. Hoy, al igual que en el pasado, los inmigrantes continúan creando prosperidad y enriquecimiento para esta...

Field

Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

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Insight

Running their own lives

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