Acton Institute Powerblog

7 Figures: Hunger in America

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7figuresFeeding America is a nationwide network of 200 member food banks, the largest domestic hunger-relief charity in the United States. The Feeding America network of food banks provides food assistance to an estimated 46.5 million Americans in need each year, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.

The report “Hunger in America” is Feeding America’s series of quadrennial studies that provide comprehensive demographic profiles of people seeking food assistance through the charitable sector.

Here are seven figures you should know from the latest report:

1. Among all Feeding America network clients, 43 percent identify as white, 26 percent as African American, and 20 percent as Latino. More than one in four African Americans and one in six Latinos in the U.S. is served by the Feeding America network, compared to one in ten white non-Hispanics.

2. An overwhelming majority of client households report subsisting on minimal income. The median monthly household income among all households is $927, while the median annual household income is $9,175. A majority (72 percent) of client households are living in poverty with annual household incomes at or below the federal poverty level.

3. Approximately 620,000, or four percent of Feeding America client households contain a member who is currently serving full or part-time in the military, either in the Armed Forces, Reserves, or National Guard. An estimated 25 percent of households with a member currently serving in the U.S. military receive food assistance from the Feeding America network.

4. 84 percent of Feeding America client households are food insecure, meaning that they were without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food at some point during the past year. Nationally, according to the USDA, only 14.5 percent of households are food insecure.

5. A majority of client households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities (69 percent), transportation (67 percent), medical care (66 percent), or housing (57 percent) at some point during the year. Among households making these spending tradeoffs, typically one-third report doing so every month.

6. Across all households, purchasing cheaper food, even if it’s not the healthiest option, is the most common coping strategy (79 percent) for food insecurity. Households with at least one child, as compared to all households, are more likely to report using this strategy (84 percent).

7. More than half of all client households (53 percent) receive help from family and friends as a strategy to get enough food. More than one in three households (35 percent) reports selling personal property in order to obtain enough food for their household. While growing food in a home or community garden is the least common coping strategy among Feeding America network clients, it remains a strategy employed by more than one in five households (23 percent).

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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