February 15, 2017

Despite Gains, African-Americans Still Disproportionately Affected by Hunger and Poverty

Washington, D.C. – Over the past year, African-Americans have seen significant decreases in hunger and poverty levels, with a nearly 5 percentage point drop in hunger alone. Much of these declines are due to effective federal policy and strong community leadership. However, much more must be done.

Bread for the World recently released a new graphic, I Still Rise, highlighting African-American contributions to ending hunger and poverty over the past century. “African-Americans have always been at the forefront of the struggle against hunger and poverty,” said Eric Mitchell, director of government relations at Bread for the World.

Despite the recent gains, and the contributions made historically, African-Americans are still more likely to suffer from hunger and poverty than other Americans, according to a new analysis by Bread for the World. Almost 50 percent of all black children younger than 6 live in poverty—more than three times the proportion of young white children. Unemployment and low wages, lack of access to healthy and affordable food, poor schools, and higher incarceration rates are just a few of the factors that contribute to this problem.

“Unemployment and a lack of good-paying jobs are primary causes,” Mitchell added. “But we must also address factors like mass incarceration, inadequate school funding, and poor health caused by a lack of access to nutritious foods if we want to solve the problem.”

While African-Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, they represent 22 percent of those experiencing poverty and hunger. The median income of African-American households is nearly $20,000 less than general households, which makes African-American households twice as likely to experience poverty. This number is even higher for female-headed households, who are almost three times as likely to live below the poverty line.

Mitchell concluded, “African-American leadership has been key to the progress we have made so far. Now, as much as ever, African-Americans must continue to play a leading role so that these gains are not lost.”  

 

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