One in five US adults lacked money to buy food in past year, poll finds

Economic recovery may be 'disproportionately benefiting upper-income Americans'

Four years after the recession officially ended, many American adults are still struggling to recover financially and, in some cases, going hungry, according to two surveys released this week.

One in five US adults polled by Gallup in August said that at times in the past year they did not have enough money to buy food for themselves or their families.

That’s nearly as many hungry Americans as in 2008, when the nation was submerged in its deepest economic slump since the Great Depression nearly 80 years earlier, the national polling firm said.

“These findings suggest that the economic recovery may be disproportionately benefiting upper-income Americans rather than those who are struggling to fulfil their basic needs,” it said.

With Congress battling over the future of the “food stamps” aid programme for lower to no-income households, and wages still stagnant, Gallup added: “It is possible that even more Americans may struggle to afford food in the immediate future.”

The poll found that Americans’ access to food, housing and healthcare in August continued at the near-record lows that emerged during the recent recession, which economists said began in late 2007 and ended in mid-2009.

A separate poll by the Pew Research Center last week found that 54 per cent of adults felt that their household incomes had “hardly recovered at all” from the downturn.

Sixty-three per cent also said the US economic system was no more secure now than before the recession, according to the Pew survey, also released on Thursday. For many, the nation’s job situation was their top concern, it added.