One in five Californians faces hunger last year: report

10:16, March 07, 2011      

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One in five Californians faced hunger last year, ranking the state No. 16 for food hardship in the nation, a newly-released report said.

In a survey by the Washington-based Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), 20 percent of Californians said there were times last year when they couldn't afford enough food for themselves and their families.

Fresno and Inland Empire areas in California were particularly hard-hit by food shortage, according to the survey published by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

The rate in California was slightly higher than the national average of 18 percent, the survey showed.

The highest rate was recorded in Mississippi, where nearly 28 percent said they did not always have enough money to buy food. The lowest rate, just over 10 percent, was in North Dakota.

Jim Weill, president of FRAC, said the figures underscore the need for a strong nutrition safety net -- including food stamps and school meals -- for families that continue to struggle as the economy begins to recover.

"While the nation's Great Recession may have technically ended in mid-2009, it has not yet ended for many of the nation's households," Weill said. "For them, 2010 was the third year of a terrible recession that is widely damaging the ability to meet basic needs."

The report was based on data collected for the Gallup- Healthways Well-Being Index, which conducted telephone interviews with more than 350,000 people in 2010, including 35,543 people in California, according to the paper.

The report also looked at food hardship in the 100 metropolitan statistical areas with the largest number of respondents, the paper said.

The two highest metropolitan rates were in California: 27 percent in the Fresno area and 26 percent in Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario. The rate in Bakersfield was 24 percent; Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana came in at 21 percent, the survey showed.

Source: Xinhua

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