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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rising Food Prices Intensify Poverty, Hunger In U.S. And World

After my recent series of articles on wealth disparity, I have often been asked what the most pressing problem is for the poor and struggling middle-class.  And the answer is the most basic need of all - food.

Between October 2010 and January 2011, the World Bank's food price index increased by 15 percent, and the global prices of wheat, maize, sugar and edible oils have all increased sharply.  As a result, since June 2010,
"there has been a net increase in extreme poverty of about 44 million people in low- and middle-income countries."
According to Gallup Polls conducted between 2006 and 2008, 16 percent of people in the Americas have gone hungry due to finances. And the trend of rising food prices is going to push more and more families into that category.

One in four Americans is "worried about having enough money to put food on the table in the next year," reports the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Their information comes from a national hunger survey conducted last month by Hart Research Associates, commissioned by FRAC and Tyson Foods, Inc. The survey found that 24 percent of respondents "indicated they are very or fairly concerned about being able to afford food at some point in the next year, while 31 percent are slightly worried."

A volunteer for a Washington, DC food pantry tells the BBC, the government needs act before it’s too late.

“The minimum wage job in the United States gets you, if you work every day of the year except for maybe a two-week Holiday, it gets you about $12,000 a year, which is still well below the poverty level. These are the folks that we’re struggling with before and they’re struggling now and unless there’s some really significant changes, they’re going to be struggling in the future.”
Imagine trying to get by on a $1,000.00 a month.

Key national highlights:

In 2009, 50.2 million (16.6%) Americans lived in food insecure households.
In 2009, 17.4 million (14.7 %) American households were food insecure.
In 2009, 8.4 million (21.3%) households with children were living in food insecure households.
In 2009, 17.2 million (23.2%) children were living in food insecure households.
In 2009, 2.2 million (7.5%) households with seniors were living in food insecure households.
In 2009, 884,000 (7.8%) seniors living alone were living in food insecure households.
It’s further proof of the squeezing of the lower working class in America. The gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ has increased at such an alarming rate in the past few decades that those at the bottom of the economic ladder are working multiple jobs just to keep up with the basics and being forced to compromise in ways they shouldn’t.

1 comment:

  1. To think congress passed tax breaks for the top 1% of wealth. " Let them eat cake."