Number Of American Families Struggling To Buy Food Drops To Pre-Recession Levels

| by Nathaly Pesantez

The number of Americans struggling to afford food has dropped significantly, with food hardship rates the lowest since 2008, according to a new survey.

The Gallup survey, conducted by the Food Research and Action Center, found that 15.8 percent of survey respondents experienced difficulties affording food within the past 12 months. In 2014, the percentage of respondents was at 17.1 percent. 

In the first months of 2008, food hardship rates were no higher than 16.7 percent, but in the following five years, monthly rates settled at 18 percent and higher, reaching 20 percent in some months. 

The FRAC concluded that economic recovery, coupled with the number of people in need who are increasingly signing up to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, are the main reasons for the drop in food hardship rates. 

Although the numbers for this survey reveal fewer difficulties in affording food among American families, 33 states still remained at the same rate as 2014 or declined by a percentage within the survey's margin of error. 

"While progress is being made, it is important to note that the current rate of food hardship is still far too high, and still unacceptable," a statement from the FRAC reads. "There are large proportions of children, adults and families in every state who face a daily struggle with hunger."

The FRAC also points to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a bill that funds child nutrition programs and free lunch programs in schools, and the reauthorization process in Congress once the bill expires on Sept. 30.

Sources: FRAC, Feeding America / Photo credit: Lance Cheung for USDA/Flickr