© 2023 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

MSU survey finds a third of Americans say pandemic affected access to food

Two women are putting food in brown paper bags. One of the women is holding a carton of eggs. They both are wearing gloves and masks.
Ismael Paramo

A national survey from Michigan State University finds many Americans say the pandemic affected their household’s ability to access food and they had fewer financial resources.

In the last year and a half millions of Americans lost their jobs and income, driving many to cut down on how much they regularly spend on food.

MSU’s Food Literacy and Engagement Poll sampled 2,002 Americans. It found 31% of those surveyed say the pandemic affected their access to food.

MSU researcher Sheril Kirshenbaum co-directed the survey. She said the number of individuals and families going without enough food to eat is at a staggering number.

“Food insecurity means that seven days a week, they might not have always had enough calories to get through their day, they might have gone to bed hungry, they might have wanted to be able to afford more food than they could for their household," she added.

Kirshenbaum said food insecurity isn’t something new but the issue has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We saw a tremendous amount of people leave the workforce, we saw changes in the supply chain, we saw prices go up with food," she said. "And suddenly the situation is a lot more complex and a lot more challenging for people who had already been struggling."

Within the group that said the pandemic affected their access to food, an additional 32% said that access had been affected by a lack of available transportation. And 53% in the group reported fewer financial resources.

"So here we have an issue where it's not necessarily about less money to spend on what we eat, but maybe they depend on public transportation, like taking a bus or taking the metro," she explained. "And suddenly they're not comfortable using it to get to the store."

Kirshenbaum said in some cases parents are restricting their food intake to ensure their children have enough to eat.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
Support local journalism by becoming a new WKAR donor and get ad-free feeds of your favorite NPR podcasts with NPR+ when you donate $8/month or more! Make your contribution today to fund more vetted news reports throughout mid-Michigan!