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Hunger in America, By the Numbers

Pat Garofalo and Travis Waldron
ThinkProgress / News Report
Published: Sunday 27 November 2011
48.8 million: People who lived in food insecure households last year.
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Last year, 17.2 million households in the United States were food insecure, the highest level on record, as the Great Recession continued to wreak havoc on families across the country. Of those 17.2 million households, 3.9 million included children. On Thanksgiving Day, here’s a look at hunger in America, as millions of Americans struggle to get enough to eat in the wake of the economic crisis:

17.2 million: The number of households that were food insecure in 2010, the highest number on record. They make up 14.5 percent of households, or approximately one in seven.

48.8 million: People who lived in food insecure households last year.

3.9 million: The number of households with children that were food insecure last year. In 1 percent of households with children, “one or more of the children experienced the most severe food-insecure condition measured by USDA, very low food security, in which meals were irregular and food intake was below levels considered adequate by caregivers.”

6.4 million: Households that experienced very low food security last year, meaning “normal eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at times during the year because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.”

55: The percentage of food-insecure households that participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs (SNAP, WIC, School lunch program).

19.4: The percentage of food insecure households in Mississippi, which had the highest rate in the nation last year.

3.6 percent: The amount by which food prices increased last year.

30 percent: The amount by which food insecurity grew during the Great Recession.

44: The percentage increase in households using food pantries between 2007 and 2009.

20 million: The number of children who benefit from free and reduced lunch per day.

10.5 million: The number of eligible children who don’t receive their free and reduced lunch benefits.

$167.5 billion: The amount that the U.S. lost in 2010 due to hunger (lost educational attainment + avoidable illness + charitable giving to fight hunger). This doesn’t take into account the $94 billion cost of SNAP and other food programs.

8: The number of states (FL, TX, CA, IL, NY, OH, PA, GA) where the annual cost of hunger exceeds $6 billion.

Last year, “nearly half of the households seeking emergency food assistance reported having to choose between paying for utilities or heating fuel and food. Nearly 40 percent said they had to choose between paying for rent or a mortgage and food.” This Thanksgiving, as you sit down to enjoy a meal with family and friends, please spare a thought for those who, due to the country’s continuing economic woes, may not have enough to eat.

This holiday season, please consider donating to a local food bank. You can find one nearbyor donate online through the Feeding America website. You can also give to Operation Homefront, a group that provides assistance to military families.



hffhigz

hffhigz

The priorities of the US are

The priorities of the US are war, greed, and exploitation. Don't expect the government to help the needy.However, there are thousands and thousands of grossly obese people in this country. Perhaps someone should learn how to grow and prepare nutritious food instead of eating McDonalds and the like.

good questions

good questions

Preacher Louise, I am neither

Preacher Louise, I am neither elderly nor a child. I am 56 years old and work HARD at a state job, six days a week - but only 29 hours spread over those six days, because if they gave me 30 hours they would, by law, have to give me benefits (I have no health care, for instance. Haven't had a Dr's physical in 6 years). That tactic is VERY common, all over this country. My last state job was full-time - but for only six months. I then had the "option" to re-apply for THE SAME JOB. Again - that's because a "temporary" job earns no benefits. At that place, those who reapply for those jobs, as long as they worked hard, get them. Again and Again. So that the state government can take advantage of a loophole in labor laws. My takehome pay for this job is $850 a month. So, yes, I'm food insecure - and health insecure, and clothing insecure, and ........

According to the statistics

According to the statistics cited, 17.2 million households were food insecure last year; 3.9 million households had children. Does this mean that 13.3 million food insecure households had no children? Who are these folks? Elderly? Single? Also, what is the source for these statistics? I'm not doubting them, but as a preacher, I have to cite sources in order to be considered credible. Thanks for raising this crucial issue.

America is not going to make

America is not going to make it...simple fact.

These statistics don't count

These statistics don't count the number of people who would go hungry but for the help they get from relatives.

Is money the answer to all

Is money the answer to all problems? ....I doubt....but gee, I'd like to find that out for myself. hmmmm lol Thanks for this article! Years ago, when I approached this subject to a group of people, they looked at me as if I was out of my mind....and dismissed everything I had to say. Things are far worse now.....During the Great Depression, my folks rented a small place.....evidently rent was hard to come by. They often spoke in gratitude the kindness of the man who allowed them stay anyway. He even allowed them a garden on the property where they raised and canned the food to get them by. I still have dad's humble cultivator. I offer this because I know what it did for them and the man who owned the place. My folks took care of the place while they stayed there....the house was not empty to fall into disrepair. Bankers take note. Is it necessary to oust the would be owners.....Can't something be arranged to help you while helping the people under going hard times? So there is a delay of contract in these hard times, but a chance of minimizing losses in the long run. Perhaps when things get better all can resume the dream. It seems out of place for there to be empty homes and homeless people at the same time. We may have to be more lenient in some city ordinances for the duration, with the aim of helping people to help themselves. Like raising chickens for the family nutrition. My folks raised chickens and in this was able to supply others a good protein substance and a few pennies for themselves. Money does help, but maybe we can make the money work harder for us, with visible more satisfactory results. People, the Great Depression didn't last....with it we learned, we grew...and appreciated a better life!

Does anyone out there really

Does anyone out there really care? I'm allright jack mentality rules and its only going to get worse. Oh sorry got to go, the football game has just started...."hey someone open a beer for me please".

that has been the prevalent

that has been the prevalent thought in this country for a long long time along with get a job

Instead of spending the

Instead of spending the American money on killing and occupying other nations, the American government must feed its people first. It is shame to see these huge numbers of hungry families and children in the richest and most powerful country on this planet. It is the taxpayers money that is spent aiding only the aggressors and not the poor people in the poor countries. Instead, American government helps killing the poor in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine.

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ABOUT Travis Waldron

Travis Waldron is a reporter/blogger for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Travis grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and holds a BA in journalism and political science from the University of Kentucky. Before coming to ThinkProgress, he worked as a press aide at the Health Information Center and as a staffer on Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s 2010 Senate campaign. He also interned at National Journal’s Hotline and was a sports writer and political columnist at the Kentucky Kernel, the University of Kentucky’s daily student newspaper.

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