Food insecurity projected to increase in Alaska as COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food insecurity is projected to increases in Alaska as COVID-19 persists.
Food insecurity is projected to increases in Alaska as COVID-19 persists.(Feeding America)
Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 5:17 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a lot from people. Billions of jobs and lives have been impacted worldwide, and that number is growing daily. But now, a new study conducted in the United States shows that hunger is among one of the main concerns.

By the end of this year, more than 50 million people could experience food insecurity, according to Feeding America, the country’s largest hunger-relief organization. That’s one in six Americans and one in four children, a nearly 50% increase from 2019. In October, Feeding America’s network of food banks and pantries distributed some 548 million meals, up 52% from an average month before the pandemic.

This year, Northwestern University conducted a study that found food needs have doubled nationally and tripled for households with children. The study shows that food insecurity is elevated across all states, with some states experiencing extremely high rates, with Alaska being one of them.

Northwestern University created a state-specific graph, outlining food insufficiency in each state. Here is a break down of Alaska statistics compared to U.S. statistics as a whole.

Food insecurity projected to increases in Alaska as COVID-19 persists
Food insecurity projected to increases in Alaska as COVID-19 persists(Northwestern Univesity)

Column 1 displays food insecurity rates over the past year from December 2018. Over 11% of people who participated in the study from Alaska said they experienced food insecurity.

Column 2 shows the percentage of people predicted to have experienced food insecurity in February 2020. Again, Alaska’s percentage is above the national percentage at 11.1%, with the national average being 10.8 percent.

Column 3 shows the percentage of food insecurity from April through May of this year, showing huge increases nationally. Alaska’s food insecurity rate rose to 18.1% while the national average rose to 23%.

Column 4 gives the ratio of food insecurity rates in February 2020 versus April through May of 2020. In the U.S. overall, food insecurity during COVID-19 is 2.12 times what it was prior to the onset of the national health emergency, and in Alaska, 1.63 times what it was before the pandemic.

Column 5 shows that 6.6% of people in Alaska received free food seven days prior to participating in this study, while 7.3% of people across the nation also received free food.

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