Almost 30 million Americans didn’t have enough to eat last week

New Yorkers wait at a Food Bank for New York City distribution event.
People are lined up at a Food Bank for New York City distribution event on July 29 in New York City.
(Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City)

Food insecurity for U.S. households last week reached its highest reported level since the Census Bureau started tracking the data in May, with almost 30 million Americans reporting that they’d not had enough to eat at some point in the seven days through July 21.

In the bureau’s weekly Household Pulse Survey, roughly 23.9 million of 249 million respondents indicated that they “sometimes [had] not enough to eat” for the week ended July 21, while about 5.42 million indicated that they “often [had] not enough to eat.” The survey, which began with the week ending May 5, was published Wednesday.

The number of respondents who sometimes had insufficient food was at its highest point in the survey’s 12 weeks. The number who often experienced food insufficiency was at its highest since the week ending May 26.

This follows the deep recession resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put millions of Americans out of work. Unemployed Americans have been receiving an extra $600 per week benefit, which is set to expire at the end of July as Congress debates a new relief package.

Other high-frequency data, including Household Pulse jobs numbers, indicate that the U.S. economic recovery may be stalling out as virus cases spike around the country and states roll back their reopening plans.