A number of public and private programs are credited with reducing food security in 2021 as a report released showed fewer people were food insecure last year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that 34 million people were living in food insecure households in 2021, a decline from 38 million in 2020. Most significantly, the number of children living in food insecure households declined from 12 million to 9 million.
The data indicated it was the lowest rate of food insecure Americans since data has been tracked.
Feeding America credited the combination of the expanded children tax credit, SNAP benefits and private donations for reducing food insecurity.
“Still, nearly 34 million people facing hunger in this country are too many, and we know this number would have been much higher were it not for the continued unprecedented response from the charitable food sector and government nutrition programs,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “The public/private response to the hunger crisis brought on by the pandemic has been successful in mitigating food insecurity rates, particularly among households with children, and we need to continue and expand those efforts to ensure everyone has access to the food and resources they need to thrive.”
The ending of the expanded child tax credit coupled with rising food costs could cause figures to go back up.
The cost of food at the grocery store has gone up 13.5% in the last year. Meanwhile, wages have only gone up about 5%, government data shows.