Sunday, May 01, 2011

FRAC: Albuquerque Ranks 19th among Cities with Highest Rates of Food Hardship

The Food Research and Action Center recently released a study with different measures of food hardship in the United States.  The study, released in March 2011, is entitled Food Hardship in America -2010

Food hardship is defined as answering “yes” to the question posed by the Gallup organization to hundreds of thousands of people: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”
The national data show that the struggle of tens of millions of American households to afford adequate food did not, by and large, get easier in 2010. While the nation’s Great Recession technically ended in mid-2009 (measured by growth in the Gross Domestic Product), it has not yet ended for most of the nation’s households. For them, 2010 was the third year of a recession that continues to have severe adverse impact on their well-being.

Here are some telling statistics:

New Mexico ranked 14th among the 50 US states
In 21 states in 2010, one in five or more respondents answered the food hardship question in the affirmative; in 45 states, 15 percent or more answered the question “yes.” The states with the highest rates were overwhelmingly from the Southeast, Southwest and West
Albuquerque ranked 19th among the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs)
Of the 100 largest MSAs in 2010, 40 saw 20 percent or more of respondents answer the question in the affirmative, and 85 saw 15 percent or more answer “yes.
Interestingly Enough...
the New Mexico First Congressional District (which includes Albuquerque) was not among the top 40 congressional districts with the highest rates of food hardship.  Why the discrepancy?  While Albuquerque comprises a large portion of the First Congressional District, the boundaries also include communities like Edgewood, Mountainair, Estancia, Placitas and Bernalillo.  What this probably means is that food insecurity in the First District is concentrated in Albuquerque.

Here are some conclusions from the report:
Food hardship rates are too high in every corner of the nation. It is crucial that the nation rebuild its economy, strengthen employment and wages, and develop public supports that will dramatically decrease these food hardship numbers and do so quickly. Essential steps include: a growing economy that provides jobs at decent wages, shares prosperity and pulls households out of hunger and poverty; improved income supports (e.g., unemployment insurance, refundable tax credits) that help struggling workers and families; and strengthened – not reduced, as some in Congress are proposing – federal nutrition programs (SNAP/Food Stamps, school meals, WIC, summer, afterschool, and child care food) that reach more households – seniors, children, and working-age adults alike – in need and do so with more robust benefits.
But as a nation, even in difficult times, we have the resources to eliminate hunger for everyone, regardless of age or family configuration. The cost of not doing so – in terms of damage to health, education, early childhood development and productivity – is just too high. The moral cost of not doing so is even higher. 

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