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African-Americans Continue to Suffer Impacts of The Economic Recession

Washington, DC, February 24, 2011

A new analysis by Bread for the World Institute shows that African-Americans continue to suffer disproportionately from hunger, poverty, unemployment, and income and education disparities when compared to the total U.S. population.  

“The economic recession has left African-Americans struggling in the past couple of years,” said Rev. Derrick Boykin, northeast regional organizer for Bread for the World. “But the truth is, African-Americans had been suffering from ‘recession-like’ conditions long before the recession hit the rest of the country.”

According to the analysis, “Hunger by the Numbers in the African-American Community,” the African-American poverty rate reached 25.8 percent in 2009 (the latest full year for which data is available)—far exceeding the overall national poverty rate of 14.3 percent. In each of the 10 states with the highest poverty rates, the African-American poverty rate was significantly higher than the overall poverty rate. 

Hunger and poverty are closely linked. One in four African-American households is struggling to put food on the table, compared to about one in seven of all U.S. households. These numbers would have been even higher if not for safety net programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which helped keep food insecurity rates closer to their 2008 levels. 

“So many more people would have gone hungry last year if not for safety net programs that helped them make ends meet,” said Boykin. “It is both unfortunate and alarming that the very programs which support our most vulnerable people are the ones on the chopping block in congressional budget discussions.” 

Rev. Derrick Boykin appeared on the Michael Eric Dyson show to discuss the new report. Listen »

Although African-Americans are about 12.4 percent of the U.S. population, they make up about 19.6 percent of WIC participants and 22.5 percent of SNAP participants. In fact, 90 percent of African-American children will receive SNAP benefits at some point before age 20, compared to 49 percent of all U.S. children. Despite these startling figures, anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs are a modest portion of the U.S. federal budget (14 percent last year).

The analysis also examines economic factors contributing to the disparities between African-Americans and the U.S. population as a whole.

Download Hunger by the Numbers among African-Americans


Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

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Fito Moreno, Interim Media Relations Manager, 202-688-1138

 

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