Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same.  Unemployment rather than poverty is a stronger predictor of food insecurity. Sparky.

Povertyi

  • In 2010, 46.2 million people (15.1 percent) were in poverty.
  • In 2010, 9.2 million (11.7 percent) families were in poverty.
  • In 2010, 26.3 million (13.7 percent) of people ages 18-64 were in poverty.
  • In 2010, 16.4 million (22.0 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty.
  • In 2010, 3.5 million (9.0 percent) seniors 65 and older were in poverty.
  • The overall Poverty Rate according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure is 16.0%, as compared with the official poverty rate of 15.1%.ii
  • Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, there are 49.1 million people living in poverty, 2.5 million more than are represented by the official poverty measure (46.2 million).iii

Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security iv

  • In 2010, 48.8 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.6 million adults and 16.2 million children.
  • In 2010, 14.5 percent of households (17.2 million households) were food insecure.
  • In 2010, 5.4 percent of households (6.4 million households) experienced very low food security.
  • In 2010, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.2 percent compared to 11.7 percent.
  • In 2010, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.2 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (35.1 percent) or single men (25.4 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (25.1 percent) and Hispanic households (26.2 percent).
  • In 2009, 8.0 percent of seniors living alone (925,000 households) were food insecure.
  • Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 5 percent in Steele County, ND to a high of 38 percent in Wilcox County, AL.v

Nine states exhibited statistically significant higher household food insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2008-2010: iv

United States                    14.6%

Mississippi                          19.4%

Texas                                    18.8%

Arkansas                              18.6%

Alabama                              17.3%

Georgia                                  16.9%

Ohio                                      16.4%

Florida                                  16.1%

California                             15.9%

North Carolina                   15.7%

Use of Emergency Food Assistance and Federal Food Assistance Programs vi

  • In 2010, 4.8 percent of all U.S. households (5.6 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times.2
  • In 2010, 59.2 percent of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the three major Federal food assistance programs –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program), The National School Lunch Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
  • Feeding America provides emergency food assistance to an estimated 37 million low-income people annually, a 46 percent increase from 25 million since Hunger in America 2010.
  • Among members of Feeding America, 74 percent of pantries, 65 percent of kitchens, and 54 percent of shelters reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites.

 

 

 

 


i U.S. Census Bureau. Carmen  DeNavas-Walt, B. Proctor, C. Lee.  Income, Poverty, and Heath Insurance Coverage in the United States:  2010. September 2011.

ii The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2010. (2011). U.S. Census Bureau.
 
iii Ibid.
 
iv USDA. Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., Andrews, M., & Carlson, S. Household Food Security in the United States in 2010.
 
v Feeding America. Gundersen, G., Waxman, E., Engelhard, E., Del Vecchio, T., Satoh, A., & Lopez-Betanzos, A. Map the Meal Gap 2012.
 
vi Rhoda Cohen, J., Mabli, F., Potter, Z., Zhao. Mathematica Policy Research, Feeding America. Hunger in America 2010.

[i] U.S. Department of Labor.Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2010 Annual Average Unemployment Rates.