Nearly 15% of households in the U.S. were "food insecure" last year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported Wednesday.
The statistic represents 17.9 million households.
The USDA qualifies "food insecure" as people whose "access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources."
Of that nearly 15%, 5.7 percent (6.8 million), were classified as having very low food security, meaning "normal eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at times during the year" due to lack of resources. This represents an increase from the 2010 level of 5.4 percent.
The millions of food insecure households highlight the need for safety nets such as food stamps, and there is now a record number of Americans on food stamps -- 15% of the population.