Learn About Hunger
Nationally: From Feeding America, our national food bank member headquarters:
Hunger and Poverty Statistics
Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. Unemployment rather than poverty is a stronger predictor of food insecurity.
•In 2009, 43.6 million people (14.3 percent) were in poverty.
•In 2009, 8.8 million (11.1% percent) families were in poverty.
•In 2009, 24.7 million (12.9 percent) of people ages 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 poverty.
Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security
•In 2010, 48.8 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.6 million adults and 16.2 million children.
•In 2010, 14.5 percent of households (17.2 million households) were food insecure.
•In 2010, 5.4 percent of households (6.4 million households) experienced very low food security.
•In 2010, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.2 percent compared to 11.7 percent.
•In 2010, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.2 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (35.1 percent) or single men (25.4 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (25.1 percent) and Hispanic households (26.2 percent).
•In 2009, 8.0 percent of seniors living alone (925,000 households) were food insecure.
•Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 5 percent in Steele County, ND to a high of 38 percent in Wilcox County, AL.
Nine states exhibited statistically significant higher household food insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2008-2010:1
United States 14.6%
North Carolina 15.7%
Use of Emergency Food Assistance and Federal Food Assistance Programs
•In 2010, 4.8 percent of all U.S. households (5.6 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times.2
•In 2010, 59.2 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.2
•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 2010.
•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.4
needs of children, families, and seniors.