The percentage of American children living in households experiencing food insecurity has decreased compared to recent years, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The report revealed that 12.5% of households with children experienced food insecurity in 2021, compared to 14.8% of households with children in 2020, 13.6% in 2019 and 13.9% in 2018.
The report also notes that not all children living in food-insecure households are directly impacted by their families' food insecurity and shows that, last year, children in 6.2% of food-insecure households experienced food insecurity themselves. That was down from 7.6% in 2020.
While the report doesn't disclose what led to the decrease, a series of nutrition waivers issued by the USDA during the pandemic that allowed all students to receive free meals at school may have helped lower the percentage of food insecurity among children last year. Those waivers expired in June, however, and many states are working to find ways to continue to provide school meals at no cost.
Some states, such as Nevada, are funding free school meals for at least another school year, while others, such as Virginia, have included funding in their state budgets to continue offering free meals to students who qualify for reduced-price ones.