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More Americans faced food insecurity in 2022 than in the previous year, marking first annual increase of struggling households in more than a decade.

About 17 million US households, or 12.8% of the total, experienced difficulty at some time during the year in providing enough food for all family members due to a lack of resources, the US Department of Agriculture said Wednesday in a report. The prevalence of food insecurity was significantly higher than the 13.5 million households, or 10.2% of the total, recorded in 2021, the agency said.

While the USDA report doesn’t explain the increase, food prices surged during the Covid-19 pandemic because of supply disruptions caused by crop losses and Russia’s war in Ukraine, making it increasingly hard for poor families to provide for their basic needs.

About 6.8 million households were in a more severe range of food insecurity last year, when normal eating patterns were disrupted at times because of limited resources, according to the report. That’s up from 5.1 million families in 2021. Last year marked the first increase since 2011.

Written by: — With assistance by Tarso Veloso Ribeiro @Bloomberg.com

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