Another story from the “recession is over” front.
Project Bread, the state’s leading antihunger organization, released numbers from its upcoming annual Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts 2011. The report is the state’s annual report card on hunger, and the grades are not good: it reveals that over 700,000 people in the Commonwealth are struggling to make ends meet — the highest rate recorded in Massachusetts since this data was first collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1995.
The report demonstrates that Massachusetts suffers from a dramatic and increasing income gap. Over the last 10 years, the number of high-paying technology jobs has increased in the Commonwealth, while the number of manufacturing jobs has dwindled, leaving Massachusetts with one of the greatest income gaps in the nation. From 1979 to 2008 (the latest year for which data are available), the median income of the poorest families went from $22,452 to $22,688. During this same period, the median income for the most affluent families, increased 43 percent, from $136,099 to $194,899.
With 10.8 percent of Massachusetts families identified as food insecure, the report notes that many families who were once considered “middle-class” are now struggling to make ends meet.
Among the solutions suggested by Project Bread are food co-ops, community dinners, cooking and nutrition classes, market-based solutions, which engage local grocers, and urban agriculture.
The organization correctly points out that there are two “states” of Massachusetts. Some people are doing better than ever while thousands of others continue to struggle.
As seen in the Wakefield Daily Item, November 30, 2011