Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more Americans — and particularly Americans of color — have experienced food insecurity, meaning they have limited or uncertain access to enough food.
In 2018, about 20% of Black households and about 16% of Hispanic households were food-insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food insecurity survey. About 8% of white households were.
But the figures have increased since the pandemic.
Black and Hispanic households have been disproportionately affected, according to research by the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. The institute relied on a Census survey that was taken between April 23 and May 19.
According to the research, 36% of Black households and 32% of Hispanic households said they were food-insecure during that time period. That’s compared to 18% of white households.
Several reasons may explain the increase. The surge in the unemployment rate, loss of subsidized meals because schools closed, delays in relief payments and increased food prices account for the increases, according to the institute’s research paper.
Households with children were even more affected. According to the institute’s research, 41% of Black households with children and 36% of Hispanic households with children struggled with food insecurity.
The racial gap in food insecurity has been documented for decades, and it correlates with the difference in wealth between white and minority households.