USDA: Number of food insecure households 'significantly' declines

USDA: Number of food insecure households 'significantly' declines
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The number of households in the U.S. suffering from food insecurity dropped significantly from 2014 to 2015, according to new numbers from the Department of Agriculture.

The department’s Economic Research Service found that the percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure fell 1.3 points, from 17.4 million to 15.8 million households, from 2014 to 2015. The statistics released Wednesday represent a 2.2 percent drop from 2011.

USDA defines food insecurity as having limited access to adequate food due to lack of money and other resources.

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Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE said Wednesday’s numbers also point to the lowest figures on record for food insecurity among children, which he called “a major achievement.”

Children were food insecure at times during the year in 7.8 percent of the 3 million households in the U.S. households with children, down significantly from 9.4 percent in 2014.

 “Today's data mean that 7.9 million fewer people were struggling to provide adequate food for themselves or household members than when President Obama took office in the midst of the worst economic downtown since the Great Depression,” Vilsack said. “The figures released today also remind us that our work to fight for access to healthy food for our nation's most vulnerable families and individuals is far from over.”

Vilsack also called on Congress to preserve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, and encouraged the public and private sectors to invest in rural communities that produce food, fiber and fuel.

“As our economy continues to gain strength with millions of new jobs, falling unemployment and growing wages, today's report just underscores that America is greatest when everyone gets a fair shot,” he said. 

--This report was updated at 11:41 a.m.