Saturday, November 14, 2020

Hungry America


Hopes that Congress will pass another pandemic relief package before the end of the year are growing dim. The federal government estimates 10 million people – including 4 million children – will be pushed below the federal poverty line in late 2020 as unemployment benefits are set to expire in December without further relief from Congress.

Federal data shows nearly 11 percent of adults – including up to 14 percent of adults living with children do not have enough to eat.

Nearly 24 million adults — 10.9 percent of the population — report that their household sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the past week, according to data collected in mid-October. Between 8 and 14 percent of adults with children reported that their kids sometimes or often did not have enough to eat. Compare that to last year, when only 3.7 percent of adults reported their households going hungry during the entire course of 2019. Rates of hunger are much higher among Black and Latino households, where workers are more likely to work in low-income industries that suffered massive job losses due to the pandemic. About 19 percent of Black households and 18 percent of Latinx households reported not having enough food to eat sometimes or often in the past seven days.

 About 1 million people applied for unemployment insurance last week, more than any time during the Great Recession, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Many workers are exhausting their state unemployment benefits as the pandemic drags on – the number of state claims dropped by 436,000 last week – and federal emergency unemployment benefits will expire on December 26 without congressional action. 

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Nearly 80 million adults — about one in three — report not having enough money to cover basic expenses, such as food, rent and medical bills, including 40 percent of households with children. Nearly one in six renters are behind on rent, including 26 percent of Black families and 18 percent of Latinx families, according to the Center’s analysis of federal data.  Attempts by landlords to evict their tenants have been reported across the country.

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