Hunger and Poverty Statisticsoverty Statistics
In 2009, 43.6 million people (14.3 percent) were in poverty.
In 2009, 8.8 (11.1% percent) million families were in poverty.
In 2009, 24.7 million (12.9 percent) of people aged 18-64 were in poverty.
In 2009, 15.5 million (20.7 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty.
In 2009, 3.4 million (8.9 percent) seniors 65 and older were in povertyii
In 2009, 50.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33 million adults and 17.2 million children
In 2009, 14.7 percent of households (17.4 million households) were food insecure.
In 2009, 5.7 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security.
In 2009, households with children reported food insecurity at almost double the rate for those without children, 21.3 percent compared to 11.4 percent.
In 2009, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (21.3 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.6 percent)
or single men (27.8 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (24.9 percent) and Hispanic households (26.9 percent).
In 2009, 7.8 percent of seniors living alone (884,000 households) were food insecure.
Hunger Statistics on the use of Emergency Food Assistance and Federal Food Assistance Programs
In 2009, 4.8 percent of all U.S. households (5.6 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times. ii
In 2009, food insecure (low food security or very low food security) households were 15 times more likely than food-secure households to have obtained food from a food pantry. ii
In 2009, food insecure (low food security or very low food security) households were 19 times more likely than food-secure households to have eaten a meal at an emergency kitchen.ii
In 2009, 57 percent of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the three major Federal food assistance programs –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program), The National School Lunch Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.ii Feeding America provides emergency food assistance to an estimated 37 million low-income people annually, a 46 percent increase from 25 million since Hunger In America 2006 iii
Feeding America provides emergency food assistance to approximately 5.7 million different people per week.
Among members of Feeding America, 74 percent of pantries, 65 percent of kitchens, and 54 percent of shelters reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites. iii
Five states exhibited statistically significant higher household food insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2007-2009:1
North Carolina 14.8%
Rates of food insecurity, the statistical measurement of hunger or near hunger, among rural households is generally lower than urban households, but slightly higher than the national average. The irony is that many of these food-insecure households are in the very rural and farm communities whose productivity feeds the world and provides low-cost wholesome food for American consumers.
Challenges facing rural areas differ from metro/urban areas in several significant ways i:
Employment is more concentrated in low-wage industries;
Unemployment and underemployment are greater;
Education levels are lower;
Work-support services, such as flexible and affordable child care and public transportation, are less available;
The rural marketplace offers less access to communication and transportation networks ii; and
Offers companies less access to activities that foster administration, research and development.
The fact that so many people need to turn to a food bank or church pantry just to eat in the very same communities where the food is raised is a sad reminder of how much more needs to be done.
Rural Hunger Facts
14.2% of rural households are food insecure, an estimated 2.8 million households. iii
Compared to all regions, the South continues to have the highest poverty rate (under 100 percent of poverty) among people in families with related children under 18 years living outside metro statistical areas (21.1 percent) and inside metro statistical areas (15.8 percent). iv
Among all people in families with related children under 18 years with a female head of household, 47.4 percent lived outside metro statistical areas compared to 31 percent outside principal cities.
Child Hunger Facts
The problem of childhood hunger is not simply a moral issue. Child hunger hampers a young person's ability to learn and becomes more likely to suffer from poverty as an adult. Scientific evidence suggests that hungry children are less likely to become productive citizens.
Facts of Child Hunger in America
Nearly 14 million children are estimated to be served by Feeding America, over 3 million of which are ages 5 and under. i
According to the USDA, over 17 million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii
20% or more of the child population in 16 states and D.C. are living in food insecure households. The states of Arkansas (24.4 percent) and Texas (24.3 percent) have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food. (Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008. iii
The top five states with the highest rate of food insecure children under 18 are Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Mississippi, as well as the District of Columbia
Proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of children, particularly for low-income children. 62 percent of all client households with children under the age of 18 participated in a school lunch program, but only 14 percent participated in a summer feeding program that provides free food when school is out. i
54 percent of client households with children under the age of 3 participated in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). i
32 percent of pantries, 42 percent of kitchens, and 18 percent of shelters in the Feeding America network reported "many more children in the summer" being served by their programs. i
Emergency food assistance plays a vital role in the lives of low-income families. In 2002, more than half of the nonelderly families that accessed a food pantry at least once during the year had children under the age of 18. iv
15.5 million or approximately 20.7 percent of children in the U.S. live in poverty.
Research indicates that even mild undernutrition experienced by young children during critical periods of growth impacts the behavior of children, their school performance, and their overall cognitive development. vi
In fiscal year 2009, 48 percent of all SNAP participants were children. vii
During the 2009 federal fiscal year, 19.5 million low-income children received free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program. Unfortunately, just 2.2 million of these same income-eligible children participated in the Summer Food Service Program that same year. viii