More food-insecure children have unemployed parents post-recession

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2013- Between 2007 and 2011, the percentage of U.S. households with food-insecure children increased from 8.3 to 10 percent, according to a report from USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS).

A recent ERS report analyzed the prevalence of food insecurity among children. It found from 2006-07 to 2010-11, which ERS classifies as pre-recession to post-recession, the prevalence of food insecurity among children increased in most types of households analyzed.

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ERS also found the characteristics of households with food-insecure children changed over the period. For example, a somewhat larger portion of households with food-insecure children included an adult with a four-year college degree in 2010-11 (14.6 percent) than in 2006-07 (10.2 percent).

Among U.S. households that had food-insecure children, households with unemployed adults and part-time workers comprised a larger portion of the total in the post-recessionary period than in the pre-recessionary period.

In 2006-07, 6.9 percent of households with food-insecure children had an adult who was unemployed and looking for work and no other adults employed. By 2010-11, that share had increased to 12.2 percent.

In 2006-07, 10.4 percent of households with food-insecure children had an adult working part-time and no adults employed full-time. By 2010-11, that percentage increased to 15.4 percent.

In both periods, the majority of households with food-insecure children included an adult working full-time. However, that percentage declined from 67.2 percent in 2006-07 to 59.6 percent in 2010-11.

According to ERS researchers, the findings emphasize the importance of employment for adult household members in reducing children's food insecurity. “Full-time job opportunities, the availability of employer-provided benefits, and support for households with disabled adults all contribute to reducing food insecurity among children,” they noted.

ERS classifies households with food insecurity among children as those in which one or more children lack consistent access to adequate food because the household has insufficient money and other resources for food.

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