USDA Reports 200,000 Mainers are Food Insecure
Annual survey reflects ongoing struggle to meet basic needs
15.4 percent of Maine households, or approximately 200,000 individuals, experienced food insecurity in 2010, according to new research released today by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). This represents a slight increase over the previous year, when the agency reported that 14.8 percent of Maine households were food insecure.
Among the 200,000 Mainers who are struggling with hunger are more than 68,000 children, or 1 in every 4 children in the state.
“This new information from USDA reinforces what we know to be true – that record numbers of Mainers are struggling to make ends meet and access enough food to feed their families,” said Rick Small, President and CEO of Good Shepherd Food Bank.
The report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2010, uses survey data collected in December 2010 to assess national and state levels of food insecurity, often referred to as hunger. In this survey, USDA measures both low food security and very low food security. The two statistics are combined to measure food insecurity.
The new data suggests that Maine is faring better than some other states in terms of the number of residents who struggle with hunger. Maine now ranks as the 13th most food insecure state in the nation, down from 9th the previous year. In addition, Maine is now ranked 6th in the nation for households with very low food security, down from 2nd in the nation in 2009.
The report includes significant information regarding food insecurity on the national level, as well. Highlights include,
- In 2010, 48.8 million (16.1%) Americans lived in food insecure households.
- In 2010, 17.2 million (14.5%) American households experienced food insecurity.
- In 2010, 16.2 million (21.6%) children were living in food insecure households.
- In 2010, 2.3 million (7.9%) households with seniors experienced food insecurity.
- In 2010, 925,000 (8.0%) households composed of seniors living alone experienced food insecurity.
- In 2010, 70.6% of food insecure households with income less than 185% of the poverty line received emergency food from a food pantry in the previous 12 months.
About Good Shepherd Food-Bank
The largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food-Bank provides for those at risk of hunger by soliciting and distributing surplus food to more than 600 partner agencies. Since 1981, the Food-Bank has partnered with individuals, businesses and farmers to alleviate hunger and build community relationships. In 2010 the Food-Bank distributed 12 million pounds of food to families and individuals throughout Maine. Web site: www.gsfb.org. Phone: (207) 782-3554. Facebook: www.facebook.com/feedingmaine Twitter: www.twitter.com/feedingmaine