In 2012, the USDA estimated that 14.5% (or 17.6 million) of US households were food insecure—meaning that they had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. Rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average for households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line.
Again, there are programs that help. 59% of food-insecure households in the survey reported that in the previous month, they had participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs, such as SNAP (food stamps).
Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. Poverty is only one of many factors associated with food insecurity. In fact, higher unemployment, lower household assets, and certain demographic characteristics also lead to a lack of access to adequate, nutritious food.
Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security (Source: Feeding America)
- In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children.
- In 2013, 14 percent of households (17.5 million households) were food insecure.
- In 2013, 6 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security.
- In 2013, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20 percent compared to 12 percent.
- In 2013, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20%), especially households with children headed by single women (34%) or single men (23%), Black non-Hispanic households (26%) and Hispanic households (24%).
- In 2011, 4.8 million seniors (over age 60), or 8 percent of all seniors were food insecure.[v]
- Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 4 percent in Slope County, ND to a high of 33 percent in Humphreys County, MS.[vi]