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More than 50 million Americans are food insecure

Approximately 50.1 million Americans live in "food insecure" households in 2011, an increase of 2.6 percent from 2010, according to a report released by the USDA yesterday. The USDA defines households as food insecure when their "access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources."

The same report listed a new high of 46.7 million people in June receiving assistance through Federal programs such as SNAP, up 3.3 percent from a year earlier. These programs, according to the report, "increase food security by providing low-income households access to food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education."

The data was based upon a survey taken by U.S.-census takers in December 2011, which focused on hunger-risk factors, asking participants whether they were running out of food without money to pay for more, or whether they were unable to afford balanced meals. They also were asked if some family members skipped meals.

Food insecurity by state

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