Unveiling the Depths: A Comprehensive Look at Food Poverty in Our Nation

The latest report from ActionAid, titled “Fragments to be recomposed: Numbers, Strategies, and Approaches in Search of a Policy,” developed in collaboration with Percorsi di Secondo Welfare, reveals a distressing reality: approximately six million individuals in our nation, constituting 12% of residents aged 16 or older (data from 2021), are facing the challenges of food poverty.

This report takes a detailed look at material or social food deprivation, gauged by the inability to afford a complete meal with meat, chicken, fish, or a vegetarian equivalent at least once every two days. Furthermore, it examines the incapacity to participate in social activities such as going out with friends or relatives for food or drinks at least once a month. The findings indicate that these difficulties are more prevalent among various demographic groups.

Unemployment emerges as a significant factor, with 28.3% experiencing food deprivation, followed by those unable to work (22.3%). Educational disparities are pronounced, with those having an education equal to or less than a middle school diploma facing a rate of 17.4%. Both young people aged 19 to 35 (12.3%) and adults between 50 and 64 years (12.7%) are significantly impacted. Foreigners (23.1%), individuals living in rented houses (22.6%), and those in metropolitan areas (13.3%) also grapple with higher instances of food poverty.

Family composition plays a crucial role, with single-parent families (16.7%) and those with 5 or more members (16.4%) experiencing the highest rates. Regionally, the South (20.7%) and Islands (14.2%) witness a more significant prevalence, collectively impacting 3.1 million people, while the North East records the lowest incidence at 5.8%.

Turning attention to minors under 16, the report underscores that in 2021, 200 thousand children and young people (2.5% of this age group) were unable to consume adequate fruit and vegetables and have a complete meal at least once a day. Notably, the North-West emerges as the region with the highest incidence, standing at 5.3%, more than double the national average, affecting over 118,000 children and young people. Conversely, the Center (1.2%), the North-East (1%), and the Islands (0.2%) exhibit lower incidences, while the South (2.8%) aligns more closely with the national average. The report sheds light on the multifaceted nature of food poverty and emphasizes the need for comprehensive strategies to address this critical issue.

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