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One in Four African-American Households Remain Hungry

By Sac Observer on September 8, 2011
© The Sacramento Observer

According to new hunger data released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 25.1 percent of African-American households suffered from food insecurity in 2010. Among African-American households with children, the figure is much higher—nearly one in three. These figures remain higher than the general population and more than double those of non-Hispanic white households.

“High rates of unemployment have made it difficult for many U.S. households to put food on the table—but communities of color continue to be disproportionately impacted,” said Rev. Derrick Boykin, Associate for African American Leadership Outreach at Bread for the World.

One in five Americans—and nearly one in four African Americans—currently participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Although hunger among African-Americans and Hispanics remains unconscionably high—especially when compared to non-Hispanic white Americans—it would be much higher were it not for federally-funded safety net programs that helped keep millions of Americans from going hungry.

According to today’s USDA report, 59 percent of all food-insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest nutrition assistance programs around the time that the 2010 data were collected. However, programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, and WIC are currently on the chopping block as the next phase of the battle to balance the budget and reduce the deficit now falls on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—or “Super Committee”—which must identify $1.5 trillion in federal deficit reductions.

“It is unconscionable that Congress is considering cuts to programs that help families make ends meet,” added Boykin. “As Congress returns from August recess to resume budget and deficit reduction debates, we must urge members to expand the Circle of Protection around programs that offset the ongoing impacts of the recession as millions of Americans work to meet their basic needs.”

Across the board, rates of hunger and poverty within Hispanic and African-American communities tend to be disproportionately higher than those of non-Hispanic white communities. The USDA figures also revealed that 26.2 percent of Hispanic households suffered from food insecurity in 2010.

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