New Poll: 21% of Texas Households Unable to Afford Enough Food in 2009

First-Ever Data Measures Hunger in Large Cities & Every Texas Congressional District
 
According to new polling data from the Gallup organization, nearly 21 percent of households in Texas reported not having enough money to buy food that they needed for themselves or their family in 2009.

For the first time ever, this data on “food hardship” – the inability to afford enough food – was made available by the DC-based Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) for every Texas Congressional
District and for the Austin, Dallas, Houston & San Antonio metro areas.

“Hunger is simply everywhere in Texas,” said Barbara Anderson, State Director for the Texas Food Bank Network (TFBN), citing the Congressional figures below. “These data underscore how pervasive the struggle with hunger has become in today’s economy. More must be done, and quickly, to help Texas’s struggling families.”

The “food hardship” uncovered by the survey is similar to “food insecurity” data provided annually by the USDA, only more localized and up-to-date. Gallup’s ability to provide such data comes from interviews undertaken as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project. Specific to this report, more than 530,000 Americans were asked whether there were times over the preceding year that they did not have enough money to buy the food they needed.

The new numbers are especially relevant as Congress looks to reauthorize child nutrition legislation this year. Texas Food Bank Network has joined FRAC in calling for improvements in a range of federal child nutrition programs.

“President Obama has set a goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015,” said JC Dwyer, State Policy Coordinator for TFBN. “But as we can see with these new data, the struggle against hunger will take collaboration between all levels of government, private business and nonprofits statewide. Not a minute can be wasted between now and 2015 if we’re to reach that goal.”

TFBN provides a unified voice among nineteen food banks serving every county in Texas in support of a common mission to end hunger. The full report is available at www.frac.org.

“Food Hardship” In Texas• Statewide (2009): 20.9%• Austin MSA (08-09): 16.3%• Dallas MSA (08-09): 18.6%• Houston MSA (08-09): 19.8%• San Antonio MSA (08-09): 17.6% Congressional DataDistrict Congress Member Population Experiencing "Food Hardship" Nat'l Rank in Prevalence of "Food Hardship"1st Gohmert 19.7% 1422nd Poe 17.4% 2373rd Johnson 10.1% 4104th Hall 18.2% 2105th Hensarling 25.8% 286th Barton 17.4% 2377th Culberson 9.7% 4168th Brady 18.7% 1919th Green 22.1% 8810th McCaul 13.8% 33711th Conaway 17.9% 22012th Granger 19.1% 17513th Thornberry 18.6% 19414th Paul 18.8% 18615th Hinojosa 23.0% 6916th Reyes 18.0% 21517th Edwards 21.5% 9818th Jackson Lee 24.8% 4019th Neugebauer 20.5% 12520th Gonzalez 14.8% 31421st Smith 18.3% 20622nd Olson 12.5% 36723rd Rodriguez 17.0% 25224th Marchant 12.4% 37325th Doggett 16.5% 26626th Burgess 13.9% 33127th Ortiz 19.7% 14228th Cuellar 19.3% 16529th Green 21.5% 9830th Johnson 25.6% 2931st Carter 17.5% 23532nd Sessions 18.5% 198