COVID-19 has plunged more people of color into food insecurity

New research, reported by Investigate Midwest, shows that longstanding racial divides on food security have grown even starker during the pandemic.

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.

This article is republished from The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. Read the original article here.

In 2018, about 20 percent of Black households and about 16 percent of Hispanic households were food-insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food insecurity survey. About 8 percent of white households were.

But the figures have increased since the pandemic.

race gap of food insecurity during Covid-19 September 2020

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 percent of Black households and 32 percent of Hispanic households said they were food-insecure during that time period. That’s compared to 18 percent 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 could 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 percent of Black households with children and 36 percent of Hispanic households with children struggled with food insecurity.

Black people are more likely to face food insecurity than white people September 2020

The racial gap in food insecurity has been documented for decades, and it correlates with the difference in wealth between white and minority households.

Pramod Acharya is an investigative journalist, data reporter, and multimedia content producer. As a Research Assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he produced data-driven and investigative news reports for Journalism Department newsroom CU-CitizenAccess. He previously worked as the Assistant Editor at the Center for Investigative Journalism Nepal, and was a Dart fellow at Columbia University and Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN).