An estimated 3.8 million California adults — particularly those in households with children as well as low-income Latinos — could not afford to put adequate food on the table during the recent recession, according to a new policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
The study found that even those with jobs were at risk. From 2001 to 2009, the inability to buy sufficient food rose among all low-income groups, including people who were married (an increase of 29 percent to 40 percent) and those who were employed (28 percent to 43 percent).
Nearly half of low-income households with children in California could not afford sufficient food, and approximately 51 percent of Spanish-speaking, low-income adults experienced food insecurity — the highest level of food insecurity among all low-income groups.
This week the House Agriculture Committee holds hearings on the Farm Bill, which funds the nation’s largest anti-hunger program. In June, the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill and made $4.5 billion in cuts to food stamp benefits. Preserving the safety-net for those with inadequate access to food is critical, the study’s authors note.