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Hunger in U.S. Drops to Lowest Level Since 2007

The number of people going hungry in the U.S. is at its lowest level since 2007, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

According to the report, 41.2 million people said they were “food insecure” in 2016, meaning that their ability to access adequate food was uncertain for at least a portion of the year.

That number was a 2.4 percent decrease from 2015 when 42.1 million individuals reported that they were food insecure.

The state that reported the most hunger was Mississippi, with 19 percent of households reporting food insecurity. Hawaii, on the other hand, has the lowest rate of residents going hungry, with only 8.7 percent of households reporting food insecurity.

The USDA report says much of the drop is attributed to a decreasing unemployment rate and less inflation of food prices, meaning people can afford to buy more food.

“Food insecurity increased substantially with the recession,” Alisha Coleman-Jensen, the report’s lead author, told Bloomberg. “Along with falling unemployment, low levels of food inflation have also eased hunger in the U.S., she said. ‘We’re continuing the downward trend.'”

U.S. unemployment hit 4.4 percent in August, a 0.5 percent decrease from 2016. In May, the Department of Labor said that unemployment numbers fell to a 28-year low just months after President Donald Trump took office.

The number of people receiving food stamp benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also decreased. About 41.5 million people received food stamp benefits as of May 2017, marking the lowest level of participation in the program since 2010.

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