Thursday, June 21, 2018

Food insecurity: food prices in the United States are a lot higher than in Germany

Comparing consumer prices between countries is not easy and often seriously flawed, especially if done through casual observation by an individual.

But your favorite blogster is not casual and uses backup information from the web, for example, the cost of living comparison site numbeo.

So the confirmation of recent observations, condensed into joyful "food is fucking expensive here", is borne out by the numbeo figures. They say that groceries are over 26% more expensive in the US than in Germany.

The blogster regards the overall 26% as being on the low side and estimated basic grocery needs often are closer to 100% more expensive around here. If they are affordable, they can often require long trips to a less pricey store. The most extreme manifestation of this phenomenon is called a food desert and even recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as having potential adverse health effects.

Stating the cost of living is obviously not helpful without a look at the purchasing power or disposable income of the population.

And this is where is gets outright frightening: according to numbeo, local purchasing power in the United States is about 4.5% higher than in Germany.

This means, the higher grocery costs take - pardon the pun - a big bite out of Americans' income, explaining in part why food insecurity, in other words hunger, is a huge issue in this country.
Despite a booming economy, this article in The Nation from October 2017 gives the number of people affected as 41 million.

While going to a US food bank for help does not come with the still significant stigma attached to visiting their most prevalent German counterpart Die Tafel, American food prices remain, in the eyes of the blogster, an under reported and odd phenomenon. Even more so
because American farmers export huge amounts of grain and other foodstuffs.

But hey, you can shop 24 hours a day.

[Update 6/22/2018] The conservatives just passed a bill discussed for months with the effect that existing work requirements for "able bodied adults" under 49 years will be extended to those under 59 years of age.
Government estimates say that this change would kick another 1.2 million recipients off the list of those eligible for SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits.

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