September 8, 2016

U.S. Hunger Rates Drop, But Still Remain High

Food insecure seniors are 60 percent more likely to experience depression than their food-secure counterparts. Photo courtesy of Meals on Wheels.

Washington, D.C. – New data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveal more than a 1 percent drop in the number of food-insecure American households in 2015. The figure stands at 12.7 percent as of 2015, the latest data available. Bread for the World believes that this is an encouraging sign, but there is much more work that needs to be done to reduce hunger below the pre-2008 recession levels.

“The drop in the number of food-insecure households is encouraging, but far too many families are still struggling,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “These new data show that it is possible to end hunger in the United States by 2030. But in order to reach this goal our country must make it a priority.”

The USDA’s annual report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2015, shows that 42.2 million Americans, including 13.1 million children, lived in a food-insecure household in 2015.

Communities of color experienced higher rates of food insecurity than the general population. More than 21 percent of African-American households and 19 percent of Latino households experienced food insecurity – almost twice the national rate.

According to the USDA, food insecurity is “when consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”

The number of food-insecure households increased by more than 30 percent in 2008, and while the 2015 figures represent a significant drop, rates have yet to return to pre-recession levels. Vital safety-net programs such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) help to keep hunger at bay for millions of Americans. Food insecurity will remain high unless the root causes of hunger are addressed.

“Congress must make ending hunger a priority,” said Beckmann. “Lawmakers can start now by passing a strong child nutrition bill that connects hungry children with nutritious meals, working to create good-paying jobs, and strengthening the safety net so that families who hit a rough patch are not permanently left behind.”

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.

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