Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Affordability of Food

The ability to afford food is a critical basic need for families, however new research shows that food spending is decreasing. In a new white paper by the Food Resource and Action Center, their analysis of federal data found that a growing number of Americans have been struggling and unable to afford an adequate and healthy diet and that food spending by the average household fell significantly over the past decade. While this is a circumstance that is impacting families across the country, there are some families struggling more than others. The report found:

  • Spending on food by the median household fell from 1.36 times the Thrifty Food Plan level in 2000 to 1.19 times that level in 2010.
  • By 2010 median spending on food by Black households and Hispanic households had fallen to the point where it was only a tiny bit above (101 percent for Black households) or was actually below (96 percent for Hispanic households) the Thrifty Food Plan level.
  • Other groups of households whose median food spending dropped from above the Thrifty level in 2000 to below it in 2010 were: households with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty line; and food insecure households.

Policies that increase access to affordable healthy food are one of the many ways that policymakers can work to reduce hardship and promote health for the families living in their states.

For results-based strategies to increase access to health foods visit PolicyforResults.