The number of Americans dealing with hunger remained at a record high last year, according to a new USDA report, with 14.7% of US households considered “food insecure.” That’s a hair above the 14.6% that battled hunger in 2008, and the highest level seen in the 15 years since the government began tracking the statistic. Of those 17.4 million households, more than a third, 6.8 million, had “very low food security,” CNN reports.
Most of those households received some assistance from the federal government; enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program rose 18.7% last year, while the School Lunch program rates rose 5.4%. “This report highlights just how critical federal nutrition assistance programs are for American families,” said one USDA official. (Read more hunger stories.)