February 20, 2015

African-Americans Disproportionately Affected by Hunger Despite Economic Upturn

African-Americans continue to suffer disproportionately high rates of hunger and poverty despite the growing economy, according to a new analysis released today by Bread for the World. The shortage of good, stable jobs and the impact of mass incarceration on the community continues to worsen the situation.

“As African-Americans, we still suffer from some of the highest rates of hunger and poverty in the country despite the growth of our country’s economy since 2008,” said Eric Mitchell, director of government relations at Bread for the World. “The lack of jobs that pay fair wages is preventing people of color from moving out of poverty and the recession.”

The median income for African-Americans in 2013 (latest available data) was $24,864, significantly lower than the median for all Americans. Poverty affected nearly three out of ten African-Americans or nearly twice the average rate for the general population. The same rates hold in terms of their ability to feed their families.

The problem is worsened by the effects of mass incarceration; currently the United States holds the highest number of people in prison in the world. “Incarceration for non-violent criminal offenses aggravates the situation for black people in America since these laws, time and again, put people of color behind bars at a higher rate than white people for the same offense,” said Mitchell.

African-Americans constitute nearly half of the total 2.3 million prison population in the country. Once a person has a criminal record, the act of providing for one’s self and family becomes exponentially harder. Many states deny returning citizens access to such programs as SNAP, even while they look for work. For those who are lucky to land a job, their yearly earnings are reduced by as much as 40 percent. “The best way to combat hunger and poverty in the African-American community is through jobs that pay fair wages, strong safety-net programs, and by ensuring laws are in place to protect people and not further marginalize them from society,” Mitchell added.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
     

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.

Field

Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

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Insight

From the Blog