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Quick Facts

  • More than 42.2 million Americans live in households that struggle against hunger.
  • Households  in more rural areas face considerably deeper struggles with hunger than those inside metropolitan areas.
  • One in five households with children cannot buy enough food for their families.
  • 43.1 million people (13.5 percent) lived in poverty in 2015, down from 14.8 percent from the year before. This is the largest drop in poverty since 1999.
  • 19.7 percent of children under 18 lived in poverty in 2015.
  • The 2015 poverty rate was 24.1 percent for Blacks and 21.4 percent for Hispanics.

What You Need to Know About Hunger in America

  • Who is hungry?
    42 million Americans live in households that struggle against hunger. These are working families struggling to make ends meet, our veterans, people with disabilities, seniors, and the most vulnerable population—children.
  • Solutions for hunger and poverty
  • Public attitudes toward hunger
     The survey says…Americans look to government to solve hunger
    Americans believe that hunger is an extremely serious issue and look to the government for leadership to solve it.

    About the Survey:
    This bipartisan survey was conducted by Hart Research Associates, a Democratic firm, and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, a Republican firm, to gauge Americans’ attitudes and perceptions of hunger, and follows up on research (pdf) the two organizations commissioned in 2011.  A total of 1,558 adults across the United States age 18 and over were interviewed online from July 29 through August 6, 2014.

Solutions Exist to End Hunger & Poverty

Hunger in America is a serious issue that requires a serious response. When there is talk about improving opportunities for all Americans through education, health care, and the economy, hunger and poverty must be a part of that conversation.

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Education
Children are better equipped to learn when they have the nutrition they need. Yet too many low-income children who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals are not accessing them. More must be done to increase participation in school meals, summers meals, afterschool meals, and child care meals.
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Health care
Research shows that food insecurity is linked with costly chronic diseases and unfavorable outcomes. According to the Root Cause Coalition, the annual costs of hunger to the U.S. health care system are $130.5 billion. Greater investments in nutrition programs would go a long way in addressing obesity and other negative health outcomes faced by low-income Americans.
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Economy
SNAP serves as the first line of defense against hunger for millions of Americans. The recent Census data shows that SNAP lifted 4.6 million people out of poverty in 2015. In addition, USDA research shows that each $5 of SNAP benefits generates nearly twice that in economic activity. Federal nutrition programs can’t do it alone. There must be a comprehensive approach.

Recent Publications & Data

See More Resources
  • Toolkit

    This toolkit, from FRAC and the AARP Foundation, offers practical tips and examples to help organizations of all sizes address food insecurity in all types of communities with a goal of increasing senior SNAP participation. The toolkit walks through the basics of SNAP, and then provides practical resources to help organizations craft successful programs of education, outreach, and application assistance. It includes real examples of collateral and messages that have worked in communities across the nation, and offers strategies on how to measure success.

    Download the toolkit
  • Fact Sheet

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Education have adopted policies so that individual income data is no longer needed for districts with community eligibility schools to participate in federal programs. But some states continue to require this data to determine state education funding allocations, and some districts choose to collect this data for other purposes, including monitoring student achievement or determining who receives waivers from school district fees.

    Read more
  • Report

    This report highlights the experiences of 105 secondary school principals from 67 districts that have integrated breakfast as a part of the school day by implementing a breakfast after the bell program, and provides insights into program benefits and best practices regarding how to launch a similar program. From the Food Research & Action Center and National Association of Secondary School Principals.

    Read the report
  • Chart

    SNAP Monthly Data for October 2016 – 1-Month Change, 1-Year Change, 5-Year Change, and State-by-State Analysis

    Download the chart.
Taking Action
Plan of Action to End Hunger in America
There can be no more excuses for hunger in this country. In our A Plan of Action to End Hunger in America, we recommend eight strategies to reduce the suffering and unnecessary costs caused by struggles with hunger, poverty, and reduced opportunity.