Federal Report Illustrates Low-income Texans Struggle to Afford Good Nutrition

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Author:
Celia Cole /(512) 320-0222 x110

September 7, 2011

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual report that illustrates the struggle low-income Texans face in affording a consistent and nutritious diet. The USDA report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2010, reveals that almost one in five Texas households (18.8 percent, or 1.7 million households) were food insecure between 2008 and 2010, compared to 14.6 percent of households nationwide. Over one-third of these households (6.9 percent) are classified as having very low food securityâ€"the more severe condition associated with food insecurityâ€"compared to 5.6 percent of U.S. households. Texas ranks second in the nation for the highest percentage of food insecure households, and is tied for third in the share of households experiencing very low food security.

According to the USDA data, there was no significant change in the national rate of food insecurity between 2009 and 2010, though the share of food insecure households increased sharply from 2007 to 2008—to the highest levels since USDA began conducting food security surveys in 1995— and remained at that high level in 2009 and 2010.

“The number of Texas families who struggle to afford food is not a problem we can afford to ignore,” says Celia Cole, senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP).

“Food insecurity not only hurts individuals and families, it costs all of us. When kids come to school hungry, they cannot learn. This affects academic achievement and the health of our future workforce and economic competitiveness."