Nearly one-fifth of children in the U.S. are not getting enough to eat during the coronavirus pandemic, research released Wednesday shows.
A Brookings Institution survey of mothers found 17.4% of children under 12 are not getting enough food.
This percentage is three times higher than the 5.7% of children not getting enough to eat during the Great Recession, the New York Times reports. (RELATED: Lack Of Internet, Technology, Meals: Teachers Detail Pitfalls Of Remote Teaching During Coronavirus Crisis)
“This is alarming,” Lauren Bauer, a Brookings fellow in economic studies who led the survey, told the Times. “These are households cutting back on portion sizes, having kids skip meals. The numbers are much higher than I expected.”
Respondents were asked whether the food they bought “just didn’t last” or whether they “didn’t have enough money to get more.” They were also asked whether the children weren’t eating enough because the family “couldn’t afford enough food.”
The research also found that nearly 23% of households didn’t get enough food because they lacked the money — seven percentage points higher than during the Great Recession, the Times notes.
Bauer’s research also found that nearly 35% of households with children did not have enough food, compared to 21% during the Great Recession.
Bauer notes that children are experiencing food insecurity at “unprecedented” rates. She attributed such food insecurity in part to lack of school meal programs, saying that some families might not be able to get to sites where schools are distributing meals.
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