Facts about hunger in America
- According to the USDA, more than 38 million people, including 12 million children, in the United States are food insecure.
- The pandemic has increased food insecurity among families with children and communities of color, who already faced hunger at much higher rates before the pandemic.
- Every community in the country is home to families who face hunger. But rural communities are especially hard hit by hunger.
- Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and visit their local food banks and other food programs for extra support.
- Hunger in African American, Latino, and Native American communities is higher because of systemic racial injustice. To achieve a hunger-free America, we must address the root causes of hunger and structural and systemic inequities.
Black communities face hunger at a higher rate than other communities
- Discriminatory policies and practices have led Black people to be more likely to live in poverty and more likely to face unemployment. They have fewer financial resources like savings or property than their white counterparts. All of these factors increase someone’s likelihood of experiencing hunger.
- According to the USDA, in 2021, nearly 20% of Black individuals lived in a food insecure household. In addition, Black people are almost three times as likely to face hunger as white individuals.
- Black children are more likely to experience hunger than children of other races. According to the USDA, in 2021, 22% of Black children lived in food insecure households. Black children were almost three times as likely to face hunger than white children.
- While the United States has an overall poverty rate of 11.4%, within the Black community, the poverty rate is 19.5%. Meanwhile, poverty in the non-Hispanic, white community is 10.1%.
Facts about child hunger in America
- More than 9 million children faced hunger in 2021. That’s 1 in 8 kids at risk for hunger.
- Black and Latino children are more likely to face hunger than white children because of systemic racial injustice. According to the USDA, in 2021, 22% of Black children were food insecure, and 18.5% of Latino children were food insecure.
- Single-parent families are more likely to face hunger because they need to stretch their income further. In 2021, 24% of households headed by single moms were food insecure.
Latino Hunger Facts
- Racial prejudice and language, education, and cultural barriers create inequalities that make Latino communities more impacted by food insecurity.
- In 2021, Latinos were 2.5 times more likely to experience food insecurity than white individuals. 1 in 6 Hispanic individuals experienced food insecurity.
- Latino children are more than twice as likely to face hunger as white children. In 2021, 18.5% experienced food insecurity.
- At the local level, food insecurity among Latinos is higher than white individuals in 99% of counties. See how hunger looks in your local community with Map the Meal Gap.
To address food insecurity in Latino communities, Feeding America is working with national organizations such as UnidosUS to meet local needs and address the root causes of inequality.
Native Americans experience many unique challenges and are more likely to face hunger:
- A long history of harmful federal policies has led to high rates of poverty and high rates of food insecurity in Native communities in the United States.
- According to the American Community Survey, one in three Native Americans lives in poverty due to a lack of stable employment and low wages.
- Only 28 counties in the United States have a population that is majority Native American. However, 18 of those counties were projected to have experienced higher rates of hunger in 2020.
- The USDA found that only 26% of Native communities are within one mile from a supermarket, compared to 59% of all people living in the United States. This makes it very difficult for people living in Native communities to benefit from federal food programs like SNAP.
Facts about hunger among Asian Americans
- Harmful racial stereotypes cause many to overlook hunger among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
- An estimated 6% of Asian Americans are food insecure. That’s 1 in 16 people who identify as Asian American.
- An estimated 19% of Pacific Islanders are food insecure. That’s 1 in 5 people who identify as Pacific Islander.
- Recent immigrants from some Asian or Pacific Island nations face hunger at higher rates. For example, immigrants from Bhutan, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Myanmar are much more likely to experience hunger.
- More Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders visit food pantries and soup kitchens due to the economic hardship of the pandemic.
Facts about senior hunger in America
- In 2020, 5.2 million seniors aged 60+ faced hunger. That’s 1 in 15 seniors or 6.8% of all seniors.
- Hunger takes a severe toll on seniors’ health and nutrition – putting them at risk for chronic health conditions like depression, asthma, and diabetes.
- Some seniors are more likely to face hunger due to racial and economic inequality. Seniors are more likely to face hunger if they identify as Black, Latino, or Native America; have lower incomes; or have a disability.
- Nutrition programs are available to help seniors afford food, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).