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 many unique challenges that result in being more likely to face hunger during the pandemic
- Discriminatory policies and practices have led Black people to be more likely to live in poverty, more likely to face unemployment, and have fewer financial resources like savings or property than their white counterparts. All of these factors increase someone’s likelihood to experience hunger.
- Due to the pandemic, food insecurity in the Black community increased. An estimated 24% of the Black community experienced food insecurity in 2020. Black children are almost three times more likely to live in a food-insecure household than white children.
- Black people, especially Black women, are more likely to be essential frontline workers and more likely to work in the industries hardest hit by the pandemic.
- The median income for Black households is roughly $46,000 per year while non-Hispanic, white households earned a median income of roughly $71,000 per year.
- 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
- The number of children facing hunger in the United States rose during the pandemic – from more than 10 million children in 2019 to nearly 12 million children in 2020.
- Families with children, especially single-parent families, are more likely to face hunger.
- Black and Latino children are more than twice as likely to face hunger as white children because of systemic racial injustice. To end child hunger, we must address the inequalities that make it more difficult for families of color to put food on the table.
Latino communities are facing greater economic hardship during the pandemic and are more vulnerable to hunger
- Racial prejudice and language, education, and cultural barriers create inequalities that make Latino communities more impacted by food insecurity.
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, food insecurity among Latinos rose from almost 16% in 2019 to more than 19% in 2020.
- Latinos were 2.5 times more likely to experience food insecurity than white individuals. Latino children were more than twice as likely to live in food-insecure households as white children.
- Latino workers, especially Latinas, are more likely to be employed in the leisure and hospitality industries that have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Workers in these industries continue to face the highest unemployment rate.
- According to the Census, 1 in 6 Latinos live in poverty compared to 1 in 16 white people.
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).