Making Ends Meet… Or Not.

  • From 2002 to 2010, wages for all earners were stagnant except for the top 5 percent; meanwhile food and gasoline prices have been rising.
  • 314,832 working Pennsylvanians have income below the federal poverty line.
  • 1.85 million (14.6%) Pennsylvanians are food insecure.
  • 1 in 7 (13.9%) working Pennsylvanians are underemployed.
  • A single parent working full‐time earning $10/hour would earn $20,000 annually. The average self‐sufficiency standard in the Food Bank’s service area for one parent with a pre‐school aged child and a school aged child is $43,647.

Employment Status of Households with Very Low Food Security

  • One or more full-time: 33%
  • Person with a disability: 29%
  • Part-time: 13%
  • Unemployed: 10%
  • Not in labor force: 9%
  • Retired: 6%

Myth: Individuals with low incomes do not work or do not work hard enough.

Fact: An average employee with a low income works 2,552 hours per year, roughly one and one‐quarter full‐time jobs.

Tough Choices for Working Families

A percentage of families are forced to make tough choices between food and basic necessities:

  • Make choices between food and utilities: 66%
  • Make choices between food and rent/mortgage: 61%
  • Make choices between food and transportation: 56%
  • Make choices between food and medical costs: 53%

Food Assistance Programs Reduce Food Insecurity and its Negative Impacts

  • For a family of three with one person earning $10 an hour, SNAP (food stamps) benefits increase the family’s income by 10‐20%.
  • The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure found the percentage of children in poverty increased by 16% when excluding SNAP benefits from total household income.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is designed to meet short‐term emergency food needs of Americans with low incomes who might otherwise fall into poverty.
  • Work support benefits such as Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), child care assistance, and public health insurance also help reduce hunger and poverty among working individuals with low incomes.


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