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Food Insecurity and Hunger

Advocacy List

Map the Meal Gap

Feeding America. 2011 data.

A relatively new measure of hunger showing, for the first time, food insecurity rates at the county and Congressional district levels.

  • 314,840 people (12.9%) are food insecure in the Food Bank's 11-county service area ---89,250 of them are children.
  • These people missed over 51 million meals  that year.

Food Insecurity and Hunger in the U.S.: New Research

Food Research and Action Center and Children's HealthWatch. Spring 2014.

A new periodical created in collaboration by the Food Research and Action Center and Children’s HealthWatch. This periodical will be published primarily electronically, three times each year. It will summarize recent and important food insecurity and hunger research from academia, government agencies, think tanks and health and policy organizations to ensure that the newest, most interesting, and most important research is accessible and reaches a wide audience. This issue features research on SNAP and food insecurity.  

Feeding America's Hunger Quiz

Think you know a lot about hunger in the U.S.? Take Feeding America's hunger quiz and find out how much you really know...

Hunger and Nutrition in America: What's at Stake for Children, Families, and Older Adults

Generations United. 2012.

A few results from their September 2012 poll:

  • 33% of people polled experienced, or had concerns with, a lack of food for themselves or someone close to them (family member, friend, or neighbor).
  • Of those who received food assistance in the past year, 74% received help from a government-funded program and 53% received help from a local food bank.
  • 70% believe elected officials should prevent cuts in funding to food assistance programs.

Food Insecurity Among Households with Working-Age Adults with Disabilities

USDA, Economic Research Service. Jan. 2013.

Households with a working-age adult with a disability disproportionately experience food insecurity:

Food insecurity rates

  • Households with a working-age adult with a work-limiting disability: 33.5%
  • Households with a working-age adult with another identified disability: 24.8%
  • Households with working-age adults without a disability: 12%
  • 31.8% of all households experiencing food insecurity have a working-age adult with a disability.

Very low food security rates

Very low food security is the most severe range of food insecurity.

  • Households with a working-age adult with a work-limiting disability: 17.3%
  • Households with a working-age adult with another identified disability: 11.8%
  • Households with working-age adults without a disability: 4.6%
  • 38% of all households experiencing very low food security have a working-age adult with a disability.

Approximately 80% of all low-income households receiving SNAP (food stamps) benefits have an adult with a disability.

Household Food Security in the United States in 2011

USDA, Economic Research Service. Sep. 2012.

This study uses 18 questions to identify food insecurity and very low food insecurity.

  • 12.5% of Pennsylvania households were food insecure - meaning their access to adequate food was limited by lack of money and other resources.
  • 5.0% of Pennsylvania households were affected by very low food security - a severe range of food insecurity (experienced hunger).

Public Opinion - polling data 

Hart Research Associates. Aug. 2012.

  • 55% of voters think the government should spend more on food assistance programs --- 24% think we should spend the same amount on those programs. Only 17% of voters think we should be spending less on these programs.
  • 73% of voters believe food stamps are very or fairly important for the country.
  • More than 70% of voters think cutting food assistance funding is the wrong way to balance the budget.

Food Hardship in America 2011 

Food Research & Action Center. Feb. 2012.

This study determines food hardship by using 1 question from the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index: "Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?"

  • In 2011, 15% of Pennsylvania households  experienced food hardship. 

Hunger in America: Suffering We All Pay For

Center for American Progress. Oct. 2011.

  • Hunger and food insecurity cost Pennsylvania $6.12 billion in 2010 – a 28.7% increase in Pennsylvania’s “hunger bill” since 2007.
  • Pennsylvania is part of the “billion-dollar club” – one of 12 states in the nation whose hunger bill is more than $1 billion. Pennsylvania has the 8th largest hunger bill in the U.S.

Food Banks: Hunger's New Staple

Feeding America. Sep. 2011.

  • Food pantries are no longer used just for emergency purposes - many individuals and families unfortunately have to rely on pantries as a way to supplement the amount of food they can provide on their own.
  • 1/3 of all food pantry clients (36%) in 2008 reported visiting a food pantry at least every month that year.
  • Over half (56%) of all senior pantry clients reported visiting the food pantry at least every month that year.

Healthy Families in Hard Times: Solutions for Multiple Family Hardships

Children's Health Watch. June 2010.

  • 21% of families interviewed were food insecure.
  • Using a total family hardship score (including food hardship, utlitity hardship, and housing hardship), children experiencing severe hardship were 120% more likely to have developmental delays.
  • Children receiving WIC, SNAP and housing benefits were more likely to be classified as 'well,' and less likely to be hospitalized and developmentally delayed.