Report: More than 12 million families experienced hunger or worried about it last year

Friday, November 19th 2004, 12:39 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ More than 12 million families last year, about the same as in 2002, either didn't have enough food or worried about being able to feed everyone, the government reported Friday.

In about one-third of these 12.6 million families, or about 3.9 million, at least one member experienced hunger because he or she couldn't afford enough food at some time during the last year, said the annual Agriculture Department report.

The other two-thirds of families avoided hunger by reducing the variety of foods they ate, participating in federal food assistance programs or getting supplies from community food banks and emergency kitchens, it said.

The percentage of households last year that either experienced hunger or worried about it was 11.2 percent, a statistically insignificant change from the 11.1 percent of households recorded in 2002, said the report, based on a Census Bureau survey of about 60,000 households.

The report originally was scheduled for release in late October, but was delayed, prompting the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to accuse the administration of withholding bad news. A department spokeswoman said at the time that researchers had questions and wanted additional time for review.