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As inflation rates continue to increase the cost of food and pandemic-era benefits slowly fade, nearly 25% of American adults are experiencing food insecurity, a new study from the Urban Institute revealed.

Food insecurity indicates that a person lacks regular access to sufficient food for a healthy diet. People can experience food insecurity at different levels, ranging from mild to severe, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The Urban Institute study showed that more adults reported experiencing food insecurity as the cost of food increased and pandemic-era food safety nets dwindled.

Between December 2021 and December 2022, the number of adults that were food insecure increased from 20% to 24%

The study, based on a survey of more than 7,500 adults between the ages of 18 and 64, found that 1 in 6 adults, or 16%, received charitable foods, such as free groceries and meals, in 2022.

While that figure has continued to decrease since 2020, it’s still significantly more than the pre-pandemic rate of 12.7% in 2019.

Of the adults that participated in the survey, 63.2% reported that their household grocery costs increased in December 2022.

 More adults said their grocery bills increased the most compared to those that expressed their gasoline, home heating, or childcare bills dramatically increased.

Experts are also concerned that the number of adults experiencing food insecurity might increase due to more states, including California, reducing their food stamp benefits program.

CalFresh, California’s version of the federal food stamps program, is ending the emergency allotments and additional benefits being offered to recipients during the COVID-19 pandemic on March 26.

The average  CalFresh recipient is set to lose around $82 per month, and families using CalFresh services may lose up to $200 per month toward food expenses.