A study led by a University of Michigan professor found that the number of food-insecure households has increased over the past two decades.
This discovery comes as SNAP and other similar benefits may be reduced following the anticipated end of the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19.
Using a 20-year time frame, the study published as a research letter in JAMA Pediatrics compared the prevalence of food insecurity, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, between the years 1996 and 2016.
Using longitudinal data on the same families, lead author and University of Michigan researcher Noura Insolera found that the percentage of households experiencing chronic food insecurity increased by more than 100% between 2015 and 2019.
Panel Study of Income Dynamics is a longitudinal study that has been following the same families over time, and Insolera analyzed their survey responses. She used responses to surveys sent out in two waves (from 1999-2003 and from 2015-2019) to compile her findings.
From 1999-2003, nearly half of the 12.1% of families that had ever reported food insecurity did so again. Chronic food insecurity (reports of food insecurity in each of the three waves) affected 4.5 percent of families between 2015 and 2019.
The proportion of families experiencing persistent hunger has increased by a factor of two since the last survey was taken. During those three surveys, 2.1% of households reported having food insecurity.