One in five Americans have hit a point over the last twelve months when they could not afford to pay for food, according to a new poll from Gallup.
In a survey conducted between January and June of this year, one fifth of the 177,662 people surveyed said that there were times in the last year when they couldn’t pay for groceries or other sustenance. The highest rate of food insecurity was in Mississippi, where 24.9 percent of respondents said they couldn’t afford anything to eat, and in Alabama, where 22.9 percent struggled to buy food.
These statistics are staggering, but the number of Americans struggling to afford food would likely be much higher without the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a food assistance program in which one in seven Americans is currently participating. The program keeps 7 million people out of poverty, and helps those in poverty afford the basics.
If Republican legislators have their way, cuts to food assistance programs will likely render even more people food insecure, raising the number of Americans who can’t afford to eat. The House GOP budget cuts $133 billion out of the food stamp program, and House Republicans’ proposed farm bill would kick 280,000 children off of school meals and cut more than $16 billion in food assistance.