Bread for the World: Oregon
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Latest national/Oregon hunger stats released


The new food insecurity numbers have just been released from the USDA. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2005, meaning that they had access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households were food insecure at least some time during this year. The prevalence of food insecurity declined from 11.9% of households in 2004 to 11.0% in 2005, while the prevalence of very low food security (previously defined as food insecure with hunger) remained unchanged at 3.9% . This report, based on data from the December 2005 food security survey, provides the most recent statistics on the food security of U.S. households, as well as on how much they spent for food and the extent to which they participated in Federal and community food assistance programs.

In the past few years, Oregon has seen a significant decrease in the number of Oregonians who have low food security and very low food security. In fact, from the time the last report was released, Oregon jumped from being the state with the highest percentage of hungry people in 1999 to 17th in the nation in 2004. This represented one of the most statistically significant decreases in food insecurity rates in history. For 2005 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), 11.9% of Oregon households had low food security, which did not change from the previous year's numbers. On the other hand, 3.9% of Oregon households are considered very low food secure, an increase from 3.8% in the 2004 report.

The reason that Oregon was able to decrease the food insecurity rate so drastically is due to community partner efforts to increase participation in food stamps, as well as other nutrition support programs like school and summer meals for children, WIC, and emergency food. Though we have made many strides in combating food insecurity, the current report demonstrates that even more must be done to help those who are hungry in Oregon.

As hunger is an income issue, we must address its root causes in order to end hunger in Oregon. Some of the issues that must be addressed include the lack of living wages , high cost of housing, transportation, lack of adequate health care and child care, and high taxes that un-proportionally burden the poor. When an individual or family with limited resources must use all of their resources to pay for housing, health and child care, and taxes, the food budget is either cut or substantially reduced. No bill collectors ever knock on your door to ask you why you haven't paid enough for groceries this month.

With that in mind, the Oregon Hunger Relief Task Force proposes several legislative measures be taken in the 2007 legislative session to help address the root causes of hunger. See also the Act to End Hunger, a guide for effective strategies to end hunger in Oregon: http://www.oregonhunger.org/content/view/18/0