America

Nearly 18 Million U.S. Households Had Trouble Getting Food Last Year

In Oswego, N.Y., this summer, a child waited at a food distribution site. i i

hide captionIn Oswego, N.Y., this summer, a child waited at a food distribution site.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
In Oswego, N.Y., this summer, a child waited at a food distribution site.

In Oswego, N.Y., this summer, a child waited at a food distribution site.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

An estimated 14.9 percent of U.S. households — 17.9 million in total — "had difficulty" at some point last year getting food because they just didn't have enough money or other resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported this morning.

In 2010, 14.5 percent of households were similarly "food insecure" at some point, USDA says.

Even worse:

"In 2011, 5.7 percent of U.S. households (6.8 million households and one-third of all food-insecure households) had very low food security. In these households, the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources."

In other words, people went hungry.

An estimated 5.4 percent of households suffered such "very low food security" in 2010.

Earlier, NPR's Pam Fessler reported for our Newscast Desk that the food security report "comes a day after the agriculture department reported that food stamp usage hit an all-time high in June. In June, 46.7 million people received what are now called supplemental nutrition assistance program, or SNAP, benefits."

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