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Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same.  Unemployment rather than poverty is a stronger predictor of food insecurity.


Poverty [i]


In 2012, 46.5 million people (15.0 percent) were in poverty.

In 2012, 26.5 million (13.7 percent) of people ages 18-64 were in poverty.

In 2012, 16.1 million (21.8 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty.

In 2012, 3.9 million (9.1 percent) seniors 65 and older were in poverty.

The overall poverty rate according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure is 16.1%, as compared with the official poverty rate of 15.1%. [ii]

Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, there are 49.7 million people living in poverty, 3.1 million more than are represented by the official poverty measure (46.5 million). [iii]


Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security [iv] 


In 2012, 49.0 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children. 

In 2012, 14.5 percent of households (17.6 million households) were food insecure. 

In 2012, 5.7 percent of households (7.0 million households) experienced very low food security. 

In 2012, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.0 percent compared to 11.9 percent. 

In 2012, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.0 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (35.4 percent) or single men (23.6 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (24.6 percent) and Hispanic households (23.3 percent).

In 2011, 4.8 million seniors (over age 60), or 8.4% of all seniors were food insecure. [v] 

Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 2.4 percent in Slope County, ND to a high of 35.2 percent in Holmes County, MS. [vi]

*We will be adding more statistics in the coming weeks. 

Ten states exhibited statistically significant higher household food insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2000-2012: [vii]


United States     14.7%


Mississippi        20.9%


Arkansas           19.7%


Texas                18.4%


Alabama            17.9%


North Carolina     17.0%


Georgia              16.9%


Missouri             16.7%


Nevada              16.6%


Ohio                   16.1%


California             15.6%



"One in four kids in the U.S. faces hunger."

- Jeff Bridges


[i] DeNavas-Walt, C., B.D. Proctor &J.C. Smith. (2013). Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012. U.S. Census Bureau.


[ii] The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2011. (2012). U.S. Census Bureau.


[iii] Ibid.


[iv] Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., & Singh, A.. (2013). Household Food Security in the United States in 2012. USDA ERS.


[v] Ziliak, J.P. & Gundersen, C. (2013.) Spotlight on Food Insecurity among Senior Americans: 2011. National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH).


[vi] Gundersen, C., Waxman, E., Engelhard, E., Satoh, A., & Chawla, N. (2013). Map the Meal Gap 2013, Feeding America.


[vii] Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., & Singh, A. (2013). Household Food Security in the United States in 2012. USDA ERS.


[ix] Ibid.


[x] Cohen, R., J. Mabli,, F. Potter & Z. Zhao. (2010). Hunger in America 2010. Mathematica Policy Research, Feeding America.


[xi] Ibid.


[xii] U.S. Department of Labor.Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2012 Annual Average Unemployment Rates.



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