Child Hunger in Pennsylvania

  • 521,750 children are food insecure – 19.3% of all PA children
  • 47% of all PA households receiving SNAP benefits (food stamps) have children living in the home

Lifelong Consequences of Child Hunger

child hunger


  • Hungry children are nearly 3 times more likely to suffer from poor health
  • 1.4 times more likely to be iron deficient
  • 1.3 times more likely to be hospitalized and require long in-patient stays
  • Compared to their food secure peers, children experiencing 4 years of food insecurity have a 209% increase in their likelihood of lower health status

Poor Job Readiness

  • Adults who experienced hunger as children are ill-prepared mentally, emotionally and physically for the work environment, leading to greater absenteeism and turnover


  • Nearly 2 times more likely to suffer from ADHD
  • 3 times more likely to be suspended from school
  • 5 times more likely to commit suicide as a teen


  • 1.6 times more likely to miss days of school
  • Twice as likely to repeat a grade
  • Twice as likely to require special education

Food Assistance Programs Reduce Food Insecurity and its Negative Impacts

  • WIC enrollment from birth increases iron levels and lowers iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Families at risk of hunger who participate in SNAP are twice as likely to be healthy than those who do not.
  • The Child and Adult Care Food Program provided nearly 70 million nutritious meals and snacks at child care centers and homes in PA during 2014-2015, improving the overall quality of care.
  • Over 109 million free or reduced-price school lunches were served to PA children during the 2014-15 school year – frequently their only meal.
    • Only 51 million free or reduced-price breakfasts were served to the same eligible children. Breakfast has been shown to stave off obesity.
    • Even fewer meals – just under 7 million – were served through the Summer Food Service Program, designed to fill the nutrition gap left when school ends.

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