Thursday, October 20, 2011

Report Finds Hunger Cost North Carolina More Than $5.4 Billion in 2010

Report Finds Hunger Cost North Carolina More Than $5.4 Billion in 2010

Raleigh, N.C. -- Hunger cost North Carolina more than $5.4 billion in lost productivity and reduced outcomes last year, according to a recent report from the Center for American Progress. These findings come on the heels of alarming Census data which show unemployment in North Carolina stalled above 10 percent for the second consecutive year and poverty is increasing across the state.

In 2010, 15.7 percent of North Carolina households -- nearly one in six -- went hungry or faced food insecurity at some point during the year. When considered in relation to the total population, the direct and indirect costs of hunger averaged $570 per North Carolina resident -- about $1,452 per household.

North Carolina was one of just 12 states in which the estimated cost of hunger has increased by more than $1 billion since the start of the recession.

"These estimates are a gripping reminder that the social and economic implications of family economic security are far-reaching," said Barb Bradley, President and CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, a statewide policy research and advocacy organization that tracks child well-being in North Carolina. "When families struggle to put food on the table, the effects ripple through the state economy, creating greater health costs, educational problems and reduced opportunities for our children."

Research shows that children are disproportionately impacted by the experience of food insecurity -- an effect which persists well into their adult years. Children who grow up in food insecure households are more likely to go without health care, have increased school absenteeism and face greater risk of early academic failure, including dropping out of school, than their food-secure peers. As those children age and transition into the workforce, they encounter diminished outcomes in the form of limited employability and lower lifetime earnings.

Nationally, hunger-induced losses in educational outcomes, earnings and health cost the country an estimated $167.5 billion last year, an increase of 33.5 percent since 2007.

The report notes that expansions to a key federal nutrition assistance program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-formerly food stamps), helped many families meet some of their household food needs. In North Carolina, one in five residents, more than 1.9 million people, received SNAP benefits in 2010. Forty percent of them were children under the age of 18. Bradley says in these tough economic times, SNAP plays a pivotal role in helping to preserve the fiscal health of our state economy.

"Every dollar of SNAP benefit generates $1.84 in economic activity," said Bradley. "This means federal efforts to support families in tough times are not just good for individuals, they are critical for the state, keeping hunger-associated costs down, children in school and our workforce ready to drive the new economy. "

Read Hunger in America: Suffering We All Pay For.

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Action for Children North Carolina is a leading statewide, nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that North Carolina children are healthy, safe, well-educated and have every opportunity for success.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Numbers

** This post is reposted by NC Policy Watch...every Monday, they post a list of numbers. NASW-NC is sharing this on their behalf as it's important to note the number of people who are affected by cuts in NC.

Monday numbers
Posted on 10/17/2011 by Chris Fitzsimon

1.5 million—number of people in North Carolina who do not have health insurance coverage (Five Reasons Everyday North Carolinians Need Medicaid, Even If They Don’t Know It, N.C. Health Access Coalition, October 2011)

27—percentage of Medicaid enrollees who are from middle class households including nursing home residents, people with disabilities, and victims of catastrophic accidents (Ibid)

73,000—amount in dollars of average annual cost of nursing home care for seniors (Ibid)

43,754—amount in dollars of the median income for a North Carolina family of four (Ibid)

70—percentage of nursing home residents nationwide who eventually become Medicaid recipients to pay for nursing home care (Ibid)

237,000—number of seniors in North Carolina who received Medicaid in 2008 (Ibid)

282,000—number of people with disabilities in North Carolina who received Medicaid in 2008 (Ibid)

683,000—number of infants in children in North Carolina who received Medicaid in 2008 (Ibid)

60,000—number of women in North Carolina who received Medicaid care affecting their pregnancy in 2008 (Ibid)

65—percentage of maternity stays for women under age 25 provided by Medicaid nationwide (Ibid)

3—number of years since study found that total medical spending is much lower when coverage is provided by Medicaid or SCHIP than it is when coverage is provided by private insurance. (Public And Private Health Insurance: Stacking Up The Costs, Health Affairs, 27, no. 4, 2008)

763 million—amount in state dollars cut from Medicaid in 2011-2013 in budget approved by the General Assembly in June (BTC REPORTS: The 2011-2013 Final Budget – Neglecting a Balanced Approach, Budget Costs Jobs and Delays Economic Recovery, June 2011)

1.56 billion—amount in federal Medicaid matching dollars that will be lost in the next two years because of state Medicaid cuts in the 2011-2013 budget (Ibid)

2.289 billion—total amount of reduction of state and federal Medicaid spending in the next two years because of state Medicaid cuts in the 2011-2013 budget (Ibid)

13,355—number of jobs that will be lost in North Carolina because of loss of Medicaid spending in 2011-2013 due to state cuts and resulting loss of federal matching dollars (BTC BRIEF: Legislative Budget Would Cost North Carolina 30,000 Jobs, Billions in Economic Output,” NC Budget and Tax Center: June 2011)
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