One of the most disturbing and extraordinary aspects of life in this very wealthy country is the persistence of hunger. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that in 2008:
* Of the 49.1 million people living in food insecure households (up from 36.2 million in 2007), 32.4 million are adults (14.4 percent of all adults) and 16.7 million are children (22.5 percent of all children).
* Very low food security had been getting worse even before the recession. The number of people in this category in 2008 is more than double the number in 2000.
* Black (25.7 percent) and Hispanic (26.9 percent) households experienced food insecurity at far higher rates than the national average.