Hunger in America
Good Shepherd Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Feeding America serves an estimated 37 million low-income Americans each year through its network of more than 200 food banks and their 61,000 charitable feeding agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
In September 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA) released its annual study measuring food security in the United States, Household Food Security in the United States, 2011. Below are highlights from the USDA report and a Feeding America report on hunger released in January 2010.
- In 2011, more than 50 million Americans lived in food insecure households.
- In 2011, 16.7 million children were living in food insecure households (22.4 percent of households).
- In 2010, 2.5 million households with seniors experienced food insecurity (8.4 percent of households).
- In 2010, 1 million households composed of seniors living alone experienced food insecurity
- Households that were more likely to experience food insecurity included, households with children headed by a single parent, households with incomes below the poverty line, Black non-Hispanic households and Hispanic households.
Use of Food Assistance Programs
- 4.8 percent of all U.S. households (5.6 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times during 2009.
- 57 percent of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the three major Federal food assistance programs – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), The National School Lunch Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
- Among members of Feeding America, the annual number of clients served across all three types of programs (food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters) has increased by 46% since 2005.
- In 2009, 43.5 million people (14.3 percent) were in poverty.
- In 2009, 8.8 (11.1% percent) million families were in poverty.
- In 2009, 24.7 million (12.9 percent) of people aged 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.
The Working Poor
- 36 percent of client households served by the Feeding America network have one or more adults working.
- Nearly 39 percent of all adults served have completed high school or equivalent degree with no further education beyond high school.
- More than 34 percent of all households served have had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.
- More than 46 percent of all households served have had to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel.