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Food Insecurity at a Two-Decade Low for Households With Kids, Signaling Successful Relief Efforts

This blogpost illustrates food insecurity data and the impact of relief measures on food insecurity. The most recent annual U.S. Department of Agriculture report shows that some 13.5 million households with 33.8 million people were food insecure at some point during 2021. The data tell two stories: on one hand, food insecurity remains too high, being higher both for households with children than without, and for those with members of color than for white households. But overall food insecurity in 2021 was statistically unchanged from 2019 and 2020, even amid a pandemic; it improved for households headed by a Black adult, and it reached a two-decade low for households with children. The rate held steady during the COVID-19 pandemic and is not significantly different from the 10.5 percent rate for 2019 and 2020 due to robust relief measures policymakers enacted. These include Economic Impact Payments, an expanded Child Tax Credit, improved unemployment insurance, and expanded food assistance, along with SNAP’s built-in ability to respond to increased need.

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