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Economic Impacts of Hunger & Poverty

Advocacy List

Hunger Costs Pennsylvanians

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. 2012.

  • Food insecure women are 2.5 times more likely to be obese - obesity costs Pennsylvania nearly $5 billion each year.
  • Food insecure children are 3 times more likely to be suspended from school and 2 times more likely to repeat a grade.  A high school drop-out earns $10,500 less per year than a high school graduate.
  • The WIC program saves between $1.77 and $3.17 for every dollar spent in Medicaid costs.


How Economic Conditions Affect Participation in USDA Nutrition Assistance Programs

Economic Research Service, USDA. Sep. 2012.

Participation rates in nutrition assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and school meals closely have followed unemployment and poverty rates in the United States.


Hunger in America: Suffering We All Pay For

Center for American Progress, 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.


Lifeline for Families, Support for the Economy: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee Chair's Staff, 2011.

  • SNAP benefits account for a significant portion of food sales at food retail stores, and the impact of benefits spent are felt by truck drivers, grocers, and farmers.
  • SNAP benefits add 18% to a family's income with someone who has been unemployed for over 6 months.
  • SNAP benefits help low-income individuals meet their food needs when food prices rise - last year prices rose 6.2%.


The State of Working Pennsylvania 2011

Mark Price & Stephen Herzenberg. The Keystone Research Center, 2011.

  • More than 1 in 4 Pennsylvanians had less paid work than they wanted in 2011.
  • For every job opening in Pennsylvania, there are about 8 workers who want more paid work (4 unemployed / 4 under-employed). 
  • From 2002-2010, wages for all Pennsylvania workers remained stagnant (except the highest paid 5%).


The Food Assistance Input-Output Multiplier (FANIOM) Model and Stimulus Effects of SNAP

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Oct. 2010.

  • Every $5 of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps) benefits used creates as much as $9 of local economic activity.
  • A $1 billion investment in SNAP creates up to 17,900 jobs in various sectors.


From Poverty, Opportunity: Putting the Market to Work for Lower Income Families

The Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program. 2006.

Lower income Americans have about $655 billion in buying power. On average, though, low-income Americans pay more for various goods and services such as:

  • Food
  • Interest on loans (for homes, cars, etc.)
  • Auto and home insurance

The report argues that if low-income individuals paid less for these goods and services, they would have more money to spend on things can bring them out of the cycle of poverty:

  • Paying off debt
  • Saving for a house
  • Putting money in a retirement account
  • Saving to pay tuition costs for higher education