Latest USDA Household Food Insecurity Report Shows Urgent Need to Protect and Strengthen Social Safety Net

October 25, 2023

MAZON today expressed growing alarm about rising hunger in the United States, responding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) latest report on “Household Food Security in the United States in 2022.” USDA’s data reveals that 12.8 percent of households in the U.S. — 17 million households  — experienced food insecurity last year, a stark increase from the 13.5 million food insecure households in 2021.

“With 17 million American households unsure of where they will find their next meal, food insecurity is a worsening crisis,” said Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President and CEO. “It is disgraceful and unacceptable that nearly 13 percent of Americans experience food insecurity in this country. The economy is improving, but not for the millions of people who are struggling. I am particularly disturbed, yet not surprised, that food insecurity rates are even higher among Black families (22.4%), Hispanic families (20.8%), and those headed by a single mother (33.1%). I am once again confused and frustrated that USDA does not even outline the rates of commonly overlooked populations like Indigenous communities and those in Puerto Rico and the territories. We simply cannot accept this as status quo.”

“It’s also important to note that without essential support from federal safety net programs, food insecurity rates in this country would be even higher. Programs like SNAP, WIC, and the child tax credit prove time and again to be critical and effective tools, and our policymakers know it. Congress and the Administration must expand access to these programs, increase benefit levels, and address systemic injustices to reverse the appalling trend of hunger in America. Ensuring that people can meet their basic needs remains a core function of government — Congress must get back to governing and focus on these critical priorities that matter most to the millions of American households that are struggling.”

“Now more than ever, we are grounded by our Jewish values of tzedek (pursuing justice) and b’tzelem Elohim (respecting the inherent dignity of every person), which guide us to fight for an end to hunger for every person in the U.S. and Israel. MAZON and our partners remain committed to advocating for all those facing hunger, because every person deserves to feed themselves and their families with dignity.”

Earlier this year, MAZON launched The Hunger Museum, an unprecedented digital exploration of over 100 years of hunger and anti-hunger public policy in the U.S. Through six galleries, 15 exhibits, and hundreds of artifacts of historical content, the museum reveals the expansion and dismantlement of the American social safety net over the last century and how, with this history in mind, advocates and policymakers can forge a path forward to end hunger. The next public tour of The Hunger Museum will be held on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 12 pm PT/3 pm ET via Zoom, registration for the event here.