Securing a job is not enough to guarantee a person won’t go hungry, finds the latest report from Hunger Free America, a New York-based nonprofit.
In Mississippi, nearly 12 percent of working adults lived in households that couldn’t always afford enough food between 2016 and 2018. Nearly half a million people in Mississippi were food insecure, making it the third hungriest state.
Mississippi is one of just six states that has not enacted its own minimum wage, one of the factors that determines a person’s ability to afford food, according to the report. Most employees in those states are covered under the federal minimum wage of $7.25, which hasn’t increased since 2009.
The report authors found that hungry Mississippians would need to spend $227 million more on food to meet their basic needs and spend as much on food as non-hungry Mississippians. Higher wages and increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program spending could help bridge the gap.
Mississippi stopped waiving the federal work requirement for non-disabled food assistance recipients in 2016, a similar move the federal government is set to impose on all states. Under new U.S. Department of Agriculture rules set to take effect in April, some Mississippi recipients could see benefit increases of more than $14 a month.