Report details findings of new 4,000-person general population survey conducted in partnership with one of the largest independent social research organizations in the United States
Washington, DC, June 16, 2022 – A new report issued today by the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) reveals dramatic new numbers about the scale of food insecurity and inequity across the greater Washington area.
Hunger Report 2022 contains the first information to be released about rates of food insecurity in the region during the past year. Among the findings: one-third of the Washington region – more than 1.2 million people – experienced food insecurity at some point during the previous year.
In Prince George’s County, nearly half – 48% – of all households experienced uncertainty about where a next meal would come from at some point. The report also reveals disproportionate impacts on people of color: nearly two thirds of all non-white households with children experienced food insecurity.
“Even for those of us closest to the issue of hunger, the numbers in this year’s report are staggering,” said Radha Muthiah, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank. “When any member of our community is experiencing food insecurity, it’s a problem; when one third of the population has experienced food insecurity in the past year, it’s a crisis. The trends and disparities highlighted in this data make it only more clear how urgently we must all act. There is a role for every one of us to play in keeping hunger and the inequities that drive it from growing worse, and in ensuring that our region grows in a more inclusive manner that enables the brighter futures we all want and deserve.”
Key Information About the CAFB’s Hunger Report 2022
Following reports in 2020 and 2021, this year’s report features information from a groundbreaking new partnership with NORC at the University of Chicago, one of the largest and most trusted independent social research organizations in the United States. The result of this partnership is a first-of-its-kind general population survey about food insecurity and inequity in the region, reaching nearly 4,000 residents. The report paints a new picture of the pandemic’s profound toll on the ability of people across the area to put food on the table and offers new perspectives on widening socioeconomic divides. It also provides recommendations for actions that every sector can take to address these challenges and create a region in which more people can thrive.
Key Report Data:
Report data highlight the pronounced impacts of the pandemic on the prevalence of food security in the region, as well as the significant disparities that exist in who it impacts.
Food Insecurity is widespread.
- 33% of people across greater Washington didn’t always know where their next meal would come from
- Nearly half – 48% – of the residents of Prince George’s County, MD faced food insecurity
- In Prince William County, VA and Washington DC, the prevalence rate was 36%
- Even in Arlington, VA, the county with the lowest rate, 21% of residents were still affected
Food insecurity rates are disproportionately higher in households of color and households with children.
- Households with children were twice as likely to be affected by food insecurity
- The prevalence of food insecurity was 55% among those who identified as Hispanic; 50% among those who identified as Black; and 13% among those who identified as white
- 61% of non-white households with children in our region were impacted by food insecurity
Those experiencing food insecurity are employed at the same rates as those who are not.
- 77% of people who are experienced food insecurity are employed, compared with 74% of people who are food secure
Economic recovery for those hit hardest financially by the pandemic is lagging well behind those who were less impacted, widening preexisting inequities in our economy.
- A third of our region is earning less now than they were in March 2020. People experiencing food insecurity are significantly overrepresented in this group
- Employment rates are still 15% lower for those who work in low-wage jobs, while employment rates for those who work in middle- and high-wage jobs have essentially returned to their pre-pandemic levels
Recommendations For Inclusive Recovery:
Hunger Report 2022 also makes several recommendations for ways in which each sector across the Washington region can contribute to a pandemic recovery that is inclusive and creates greater economic stability, food security, and opportunity for more people.
- In the private sector, this includes offering living wages and paid leave for employees, investing in the upward mobility of lower wage earners, and partnering with the nonprofit sector to maximize the reach and effectiveness of job training and talent pipeline building initiatives
- The public sector should work to enhance the reach of income-based tax credits, and to expand eligibility and use of social safety net programs
- The social sector must find new ways to collaborate, including service bundling to address both short- and long-term client needs, and exploring joint operation and administration of programs
The release of the report comes as the need for emergency food assistance in the region remains at very high levels . Prior to the pandemic, the food bank was providing more than 30 million meals each year through a network of 450+ nonprofit partners. In the past calendar year, it distributed 64 million meals as many members of its network continue to see elevated numbers of people come through their doors.
About the Capital Area Food Bank
The Capital Area Food Bank works to address hunger today and create brighter futures tomorrow people across the region experiencing food insecurity. As the anchor in the area’s hunger relief infrastructure, the food bank will provide 50+ million meals to people in need this year by supplying food to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, including Martha’s Table, SOME – So Others Might Eat, DC Central Kitchen, Food for Others, Manna, and others. To learn more, visit https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/ or call (202.644.9864)