More than one in seven South Florida households now say they sometimes or often do not have enough to eat, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week. It’s the highest rate in the nation, ahead of Houston and New York.
And after showing signs of decline, the percentages have begun increasing for the region.
Data are broken out by national, state and metro levels. For the South Florida metro, which encompasses Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, 14.4% of households reported experiencing food scarcity for the week ended June 23 — up 12.5% from the week prior and the highest percentage for the area since the week ended June 2. Houston was second at 14.2% and New York at 13.4%.
The survey also found upswings in South Florida for other categories measured. About 44% of households now say they expect declines in employment income — also the highest level seen since the week ended June 2. It was the third highest among all metros, trailing only Los Angeles and Houston.
“The spike in new coronavirus infections will have an added adverse effect on the economy and employment,” said Ned Murray, associate director of the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center at Florida International University, in an email. “This will result in a further decline in consumer demand and additional layoffs, especially in the Accommodation and Food Services Sector and gig workers.”
Florida as a whole finds itself in the upper ranks of household insecurity categories. It is tied for seventh-highest food insecurity in the nation, with 11.6% households reporting scarcity. That is a slight improvement from the 12.6% registered in the previous week.
The state’s expected loss in income from employment also ticked back up, to 35.8%, after two weeks of decline. The Sunshine State is eighth-worst in the nation in that category.
For the U.S. as a whole, all categories save food scarcity ticked up for the most recent week amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.