Hunger Free America reports that more than 1.2 Million Michigan residents are food insecure

By: Brendan Losinski | Metro | Published December 29, 2023

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METRO DETROIT — Nonprofit Hunger Free America is reporting that the number of families living with food scarcity in Michigan is drastically rising and that more than 1.2 million Michigan residents are food insecure.

Hunger Free America said that, according to the USDA, across Michigan, 12.6% of residents, or 1.2 million people, lived in food insecure households from 2020-2022. This includes 18.3% of children in the state — or 393,121 children; 9% of employed adults — or 417,925 employed adults; and 6.5% of older Michigan residents — or 166,012 older persons.

Hunger Free America attributes the surge in food insecurity to the expiration of the expanded Child Tax Credit and universal school meals, saying that many federal benefit increases have either gone away entirely, or are being ramped down, even as prices for food, rent, healthcare, and fuel continue to soar.

“Our report demonstrates child and adult hunger are serious problems in rural, urban, and suburban areas of all 50 states,” Joel Berg, the CEO of Hunger Free America, said in a press release. “This report should be a jarring wake up call for federal, state, and local leaders.”

This year, Hunger Free America also compiled the most recent nonparticipation rates for SNAP, WIC, and school breakfast programs by state. In Michigan, 11% of individuals eligible for SNAP were not receiving SNAP in 2018. WIC had a higher rate of nonparticipation, with 41% of eligible individuals in the state not receiving WIC in 2021. School breakfast had the highest nonparticipation rate, with 46% of children who receive school lunch in Michigan not receiving school breakfast during the 2021-2022 school year.

“Effective federal public policies over the previous few years were spectacularly successful in stemming U.S. hunger, but as many of those policies have been reversed, hunger has again soared,” Berg wrote. “At exactly the moment when so many Americans are in desperate need of relief, many of the federally funded benefits increases, such as the Child Tax Credit and universal school meals, have expired, due mostly to opposition from conservatives in Congress. Just as no one should be surprised if drought increases when water is taken away, no one should be shocked that when the government takes away food, as well as money to buy food, hunger rises. Our political leaders must act to raise wages and provide a strong safety net, so we can finally end U.S. hunger and ensure that all Americans have access to adequate, healthy food.”

Hunger Free America also stated that 15.8% of children in the U.S. lived in food insecure households in the 2020-2022 time period. The states with the highest rates of food insecure children were Delaware, at 21.4%; Nebraska, at 21.0%; Texas, at 20.7%; Georgia, at 20.0%; and Kentucky at 19.7%.

The states the organization listed with the lowest rates of food insecurity were New Hampshire at 6.1%; Minnesota, at 7.3%; Vermont, at 7.7%; Colorado, at 8.4%; and North Dakota at 8.6%.