Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics

Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. Poverty in the United States 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. Read on for national hunger and poverty facts and statistics, or visit Map the Meal Gap for state-specific information.

Poverty Statistics in the United States[i]

In 2015:

43.1 million people (13.5 percent) were in poverty.
24.4 million (12.4 percent) of people ages 18-64 were in poverty.
14.5 million (19.7 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty.
4.2 million (8.8 percent) seniors 65 and older were in poverty.
The overall poverty rate according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure is 14.3 percent, significantly higher than the official poverty rate of 13.5 percent.[ii]
Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, there are 45.7 million people living in poverty, 2.6 million more than are represented by the official poverty measure (43.1 million).[iii]

Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security[iv]

In 2015:

42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children.
13 percent of households (15.8 million households) were food insecure.
5 percent of households (6.3 million households) experienced very low food security.
Households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 17 percent compared to 11 percent.
Households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (17%), especially households with children headed by single women (30%) or single men (22%), Black non-Hispanic households (22%) and Hispanic households (19%).

In 2014:

In 2014, 5.4million seniors (over age 60), or 9 percent of all seniors were food insecure.[v]
Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 4 percent in Loudoun County, VA to a high of 38 percent in Jefferson County, MS.[vi]Twelve states exhibited statistically significantly higher household food-insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2013-2015 (13.7%)

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