What is food insecurity? It is “a household-level, economic and social condition of limited access to food” (Curtis 2008). Nowadays, there are many people that are unemployed and homeless because of our weakening economy. But nobody really stops and thinks about the numerous people that have unequal access to food, especially healthy foods. When I observed the people who go into food pantries, I notice that there are a variety of ethnic groups. However, the most prominent race that I see, are Hispanics. This observation brought me to produce my research question. Is there a significant difference of food insecurity among Hispanics compared to non-Hispanics? The purpose of this paper is to discuss the main factors that cause more food insecurity among Latinos than any other race.
Food insecurity is one of the major social problems that we have in our world today. The concern about this problem is the increasing number of people that are beginning to experience hunger more often. “While hunger has long been a public health concern in developing countries, it has received varying degrees of attention in the United States, most notable during the 1930s and 1960s” (Poppendieck 1992). In addition to lack of food, there are consequences that follow. People, especially children, who suffer from food deprivation also undergo some health issues such as malnutrition and obesity, which leads to more health care and hospitalizations. “In the early 1980s, most reports of hunger involved families with children, the elderly, the unskilled and unemployed youth, the mentally ill, the homeless and minorities” (Brown 1992; Nestle and Guttmacher 1992). However, a particular ethnic group that is greatly affected by food insecurities are the Hispanics.
In comparison to U.S. born Hispanics, immigrant Latino families experience greater food deficiency, especially children who have at least one immigrant parent. In 2008, more than three-fifths (62%) of the nation’s 16 million Latino children had at least one immigrant parent, and about 8.2 million or 52% of the Latino child population were citizen children living in families with mixed immigration status (NCLR 2010). One study estimated that 18.8% of infants of foreign-born parents were food insecure, compared to 11.3% of infants in U.S.-born citizen families (NCLR 2010). The reason for this is, that immigrant and mixed-status families are more likely to have low paying jobs or be unemployed, which leaves them prone to struggle with hunger. In addition, illegal immigrants have more disadvantages because they are not able to get a legal job since they don’t have any legal papers. So instead, they have to work “under the table,” which results in being paid with low wages.
In general, Hispanics come into contact with the issue of lack of food than any other ethnic group. But more specifically, Latino moms with lots of children, elders, the mentally ill, and minorities more often experience starvation. The children of...