According to a report from the US Department of Agriculture on family food insecurity, a larger proportion of Iowa households struggled to put food on the table on average in 2010-12 compared to the previous decade. The share of households with food insecurity rose from 9.1% to 12.6% from 2000-02 to 2010-12, making Iowa one of 39 states where this proportion rose. Additionally, the percentage of Iowa households in more severe conditions of “very low food security” increased from 2.8% to 4.8%. While Iowa did not have a statistically higher proportion of families experiencing food insecurity in 2010-12 than in 2007-09, the report found that Iowa was still experiencing a greater challenge than in previous years.
The report revealed that approximately 14.5% of homes were food insecure at least once during 2012. According to the report, this insecurity was present in regard to accessing sufficient amounts of food. The national change from 14.9% in 2011 was not considered statistically significant.
Mike Owen, executive director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project, expressed concern that rising levels of hunger in Iowa could worsen if SNAP opponents got their way in a new Farm Bill. He stressed that the rising number of Iowans experiencing dire situations shows that recovery from the 2007 recession is still ongoing. Although food insecurity in Iowa is still below the national average, it has become a greater challenge within the state.
The report used one-year Census data for national comparisons to previous years but presented state-level data in three-year averages for greater reliability. Food insecurity in Iowa rose from 9.1% in 2000-02 to 11.5% in 2007-09 and 12.6% in 2010-12, according to the report. The longer-term increase of 3.5 percentage points was considered a statistically significant change. Similarly, the percentage of Iowa households experiencing very low food security rose from 2.8% in 2000-02 to 5% in 2007-09 before dipping to 4.8% in 2010-12. The small decline from 2007-09 was not considered statistically significant, but the longer-term increase was.
The report highlights the need for lawmakers to be aware of the consequences of any decisions they make regarding food assistance programs, such as SNAP. Despite improvements to the SNAP program over the years, the report shows that the number of Iowans in dire situations is still on the rise. The report also emphasizes the importance of addressing the underlying economic conditions that lead to food insecurity, such as poverty, low wages, and unemployment.
Food insecurity affects millions of Americans, and the issue has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity is a complex issue that requires multifaceted solutions. Providing access to nutritious food is a fundamental human right, and lawmakers should ensure that all Americans have access to healthy and affordable food. In addition, lawmakers should prioritize policies that aim to reduce poverty, improve wages, and create jobs. Addressing the underlying economic conditions that lead to food insecurity is essential to reducing the number of Americans struggling to put food on the table.
In conclusion, the report from the US Department of Agriculture on family food insecurity found that Iowa was one of 39 states where the share of households with food insecurity rose from 2000-02 to 2010-12. Iowa experienced a longer-term increase of 3.5 percentage points in food insecurity and an increase in the percentage of households experiencing very low food security.