Ahead of today’s food distribution at the Lernerville Speedway, a new study shows state residents are experiencing hunger at highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic.
Researchers at Penn State say more than 12 percent of Pennsylvania households were experiencing hunger at the end of 2020.
“We’ve seen the media accounts of exceptionally long lines at food banks and wanted to get a better understanding of the magnitude of the problem,” said Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD).
“Our synthesis suggests that while the state’s rate of food insufficiency tends to be lower than the nation’s as a whole, it is still a significant and growing problem,” he said. “More than one in 10 households in Pennsylvania sometimes or often didn’t have enough food to eat last year, and food insufficiency status has grown worse for all but the wealthiest Pennsylvanians since the beginning of the pandemic.”
Data shows that a lack of food for homes is closely linked to the state’s unemployment rate. During weeks when unemployment claims were the highest—food insufficiency reportedly soared as well.