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PRESS RELEASE: New Survey Finds 18.3% of Households in South Carolina Unable to Afford Enough Food in 2017

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Columbia, SC – Despite promises of across the board improvement and claims of booming economic growth from politicians at both the state and national level, a new report released this week by the Food Research & Action Center shows that the number of households who experienced hunger increased in 2017 in South Carolina. Following years of decline in hunger statewide, the percentage of households who reported not having enough money to buy food at some point during 2017 rose to 18.3 percent.

This unique report provides data on food hardship – the inability to afford enough food – for every region, every state, every Congressional District and 100 of the country’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). For South Carolina, it found that:

    • In 2017, 18.3 percent in the state said they were unable to afford enough food, which ranked 7th worst in the nation for the period.
    • For the Columbia, SC MSA, the food hardship rate was even higher at 19.5 percent, which ranked 10th worst among all MSAs in the nation.
    • Families with children reported experiencing food hardship at an even higher rate of 19.9 percent.

“While often hidden behind closed doors, food hardship is a serious national problem that requires a serious national response,” said Jim Weill, president, Food Research & Action Center. “Too many people in every region, state, and community have been left behind in the economic recovery from the Great Recession, and are still struggling to put food on the table.”

FRAC’s food hardship report analyzes data that were collected by Gallup and provided to FRAC. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing almost 1,000 households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”

“After years of seeing hunger decline across the board in our state, it is incredibly disheartening and troubling to see how quickly new policies at the state and national level have caused a reversal in our progress,” said Sue Berkowitz, Director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center. “This new data demonstrates how important it is that we strenghten programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—not make them weaker. Now is the time for our elected officials to take this issue seriously and promote common sense solutions, rather than playing politics and allowing the situation to continue worsen in the years to come.”

The full report is available at www.frac.orghttp://www.frac.org/wp-content/uploads/food-hardship-july-2018.pdf

###About This Report

How Hungry is America? contains data for the nation for 2017 and for every state and the District of Columbia, and 108 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) for 2016–2017. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing hundreds of households daily since January 2008. FRAC analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” A “yes” answer to this question is considered to signal that the household experienced food hardship. FRAC uses the phrase “food hardship” to avoid confusion with the annual Census Bureau/U.S. Department of Agriculture survey and analysis that produces “food insecurity” numbers, but the concepts are comparable.