10 Shocking Facts That Will Make You Wonder If You're Doing Enough to Fight Hunger
When we think of poverty in America, we tend not to directly associate it with hunger. Food is cheap, right? And if someone’s hungry, there are plenty of resources available to help feed them, right? Well, not so fast. Yes, there are resources available, but there are still millions of Americans who are food insecure.
“Food insecurity” is a term that refers to “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food,” according to the USDA, and has largely replaced the more generic term “hunger” among experts. Those who are food insecure often have to eat less than they need to eat at meals (or skip them entirely), buy non-nutritious food, and sometimes feed their children but not themselves.
The numbers are staggering: According to a study, in 2013, more than 49 million Americans lived in food-insecure households; that’s 14 percent of all American households. About 47 million of those people rely on food stamps, today called SNAP (the Supplemental Assistance Program), and SNAP is the only source of income for 6 million of them. According to Feeding America, 76 percent of SNAP households include a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person.
Hunger is tied to poverty. Some 14.5 percent of the nation lives in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and especially in large cities, there exist what are known as “food deserts,” where healthy, nutritious food is out of reach and all that’s available are unhealthy, processed foods. Fighting hunger in America isn’t just about feeding people; it’s about feeding them wholesome, nutritious food.
Read on to learn 10 shocking facts about food insecurity in America. Learn more by visiting the websites of organizations like Feeding America, No Kid Hungry, and Why Hunger, and learn how to donate to food charities here.
Food Insecurity Exists in Every County in America
The lowest amount of food insecurity is found in Slope County, North Dakota (four percent), and the highest is in Humphreys County, Mississippi (33 percent).
40 Percent of Food is Thrown Out in the U.S. Every Year
That’s $165 billion worth of food, or enough to feed 25 million Americans.