Report: Valley has 2nd-highest rate of food hardship in US
The Youngstown-Warren-Boardman Metropolitan Statistical Area has the second-highest rate of food hardship in the nation and the worst in the state, according to a recently released report from the Food Research & Action Center, a national anti-hunger advocacy group.
The report found 22 percent of all households in the region are impacted by food hardship. When adjusted solely to measure households with children, the rate grows to 34.8 percent.
In terms of the study, “food hardship” means a family has, at some point in the past year, been unable to afford to buy food for themselves and their families.
As a state overall, Ohio was the 18th-worst state for food hardship in the nation.
Representatives from FRAC said the state Medicaid expansion has played a positive role in combating hunger statewide, but that other social programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food assistance for families, should be protected and strengthened.
Nationally, the food-hardship rate has increased between 2016 and 2017, despite an improving economy and several years of rate decline before 2017, FRAC said.