One in five households is food insecure

The difficulty to complete the diet has increased in the last year, in a context of recession and inflation.

21.4% of households are facing food insecurity. This means that they are forced to reduce the variety of their diet, or the quality of their food. It also includes families who have been forced to reduce food consumption due to lack of means. Some have even gone hungry. In April 2021, food insecurity affected only 15.3%. In other words, it has grown by six points in just over a year.

Hunger has almost completely disappeared in rich societies, so that when we talk about the difficulty of families to feed themselves, we use a different concept: food insecurity.

Food security declines

Food security, according to the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, is the situation in which there is no real or perceived diet related problem, and all types of food are available without restriction.

According to data collected by the Urban Institute, there are 69.2% of households that are food secure, down from 76.5% in April 2021. The situation is back to March/April 2020 levels, when only 69.5% of households reported being food secure.

The situation is different regarding marginal food security, a concept that encompasses some alerts. These are usually due to anxiety about not knowing whether the shopping basket can be completed, but without appreciable changes in diet. In this case, the percentage of families (9.5%) is higher than the data for 2021 and 2020, which did not reach 9%.

The family economy falls

There are several pieces of news that have an impact on the growing difficulties faced by families, in a context of recession and inflation. For example, 11.7% of families says that they have lost income, according to the latest data from Morning Consult.

And more and more families are living paycheck to paycheck. 77.6% of Americans earning $50,000 or less per year are unable to save and are living month to month. Thirteen months ago, in May 2021, they were 71.7%, which means that percentage has risen by six points.