A new study by Northwestern University found that 29 million Americans, 11%, sometimes or often cannot afford to eat. This is a drastic rise from 2018, where only 8 million reported hunger.
The culprits cited are the high unemployment rate, COVID-19 school lock downs that prevent children from getting their subsidized means, and the inadequacy of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).
The increase in food insecurity has been hit the lower middle class the hardest. 12% of families in the $35,000-$50,000 income range year are now reporting that they do not have enough to eat.
The report awkwardly shoehorns critical race theory language in some sections, emphasizing that blacks are somewhat overrepresented among the hungry (22% vs 13.4% of the general population), but the plurality (42%) of Americans suffering from food crisis are white.
The precarious economic situation of working and middle class Americans means that 46 million people relied on food banks before the pandemic. The current number of people in this situation is unknown, but it is certainly much higher and public food pantries are becoming overwhelmed.
As millions struggle to find a meal, farms across the country have been destroying record amounts of fresh food due to reduced demand on the market. The shocking practice is meant to prevent a reduction in prices and profits.
The sharp decline in civic engagement in America documented by figures like Robert Putnam has also led to increases in demand being met with a struggle to find volunteers to move and deliver food to the needy, especially the elderly who are at most risk from COVID-19.
Hunger is back.