September 9, 2015

New USDA Figures Show Millions of Americans Continue to Struggle with Hunger

Even short-term episodes of hunger can cause lasting damage to a child’s development.  Photo: Joe Molieri/Bread for the World

Washington, D.C., September 9, 2015 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that 14 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2014. This number is slowly declining, but remains well above the rates of food insecurity recorded before the Great Recession. The figures are part of the USDA’s annual report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2014. 

“It is time to make ending hunger a national priority,” said Eric Mitchell, director of government relations at Bread for the World. “It is unacceptable that more than 17 million households in this country are struggling to put food on the table. We live in the most blessed country in the world, yet far too many people are at risk of hunger.” 

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

Rates of food insecurity are higher than the national average for households with children, single parent households, black and Hispanic households, and low-income households, namely those with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty threshold. The threat to children is especially high – 15.3 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2014. 

Nearly 1 million children lived in households in which “children were hungry, skipped a meal, or did not eat for a whole day because there was not enough money for food,” according to the USDA report. Studies show that children who are hungry and at risk of hunger are more likely to struggle in school and have an increased risk for illnesses and weakened immune systems. 

Through Bread for the World’s 2015 Offering of Letters campaign, thousands of churches representing nearly 50 diverse Christian denominations throughout the U.S. have urged Congress to strengthen national child nutrition programs. The law governing these programs expires September 30.

“Congress must pass a child nutrition bill that protects individuals and families who are struggling with hunger,” Mitchell said. “We are making progress in combating food insecurity through vital programs such as SNAP, WIC, and school lunches. However, much more needs to be done to connect children at risk of hunger with the meals they need to learn and grow.” 

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
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    By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as when a person or household does not have regular, reliable access to the foods needed for good health. Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color (BIPOC) have historically had higher...

  • Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Better Nutrition Protects Lives

    With the coronavirus now spreading in low-resource contexts and new waves of infection expected in the coming year, better nutrition for vulnerable people is more important than ever.

For Faith

  • Finding Hope, Ending Hunger on Both Sides of the Border: A Bilingual Latino Devotional

    Devotional writers challenge us to feel the Spirit of God within us and to hear God’s urgent call to demand justice so all can put food on the table.
  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

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