Food insecurity on the rise CT amid inflation, end of child tax credit

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Food insecurity in Connecticut increased in 2022, new survey data shows, amid rising inflation and the expiration of federal benefits such as the state’s enhanced Child Tax Credit. ‘last year.

According to a recent survey by DataHaven, a New Haven-based nonprofit organization, 17% of Connecticut adults have been unable to afford food at some point in the past year, the highest total. high in the five years that DataHaven has conducted its annual survey.

That figure was 34% for Latino adults, 25% for black adults and 11% for white adults, according to the survey. Meanwhile, it was 23% in households with children, compared to 14% in those without children.

Mark Abraham, executive director of DataHaven, noted that food insecurity in Connecticut plummeted in 2021 amid federal initiatives such as expanding unemployment benefits, a new child tax credit and several rounds of stimulus checks, then increased again this year at the end of these benefits. Several studies have found that the Child Tax Credit, which amounted to $3,600 per child for many families, had a particularly noticeable effect on families’ ability to afford food.

“The expiration of the child tax credit in particular was expected to lead to increased child poverty, and I think the data confirms that there is high need and higher economic stress in Connecticut now that the last year when the relief programs were still in effect,” Abraham said.

Jason Jakubowski, president and CEO of Connecticut Foodshare, said DataHaven’s new findings match what the organization has seen at its statewide sites. The need plummeted when federal benefits arrived, then rose again once they were gone, he said.

“[Those benefits were] a lifeline for many families, especially for many working families,” Jakubowski said. food trucks or at one of our 600 food pantries across the state. »

It doesn’t help, Jakubowski said, that inflation has driven up the prices of food and other basic necessities.

“A consumer’s dollar doesn’t go as far in grocery history as it used to, which forces them to rely on us more,” he said.

According to the DataHaven survey, conducted in partnership with Siena College, 68% of Connecticut households say inflation is having “some impact” or “great impact,” including 73% of households with children. Not surprisingly, food insecurity was higher among families who reported feeling the effects of inflation.

As part of its annual survey, DataHaven polled 1,196 Connecticut adults over a four-week period in August about various aspects of life in the state. Full results will be released next month, Abraham said.

Jakubowski said food insecurity, as measured by Connecticut Foodshare, peaked at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when long lines of cars waited for groceries at locations across the state. Although the current situation is less severe, he said, Foodshare estimates that 425,000 people in Connecticut, including one in eight children, are currently food insecure.

“The good news is that the numbers are not as high as they were at the height of the pandemic,” Jakubowski said. “The bad news is that we are definitely not back to where we were before the pandemic.”

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