Latino Hunger Fact Sheet

Nationally, the population identifying as Hispanic/Latino represents 17 percent (54 million people) of the U.S. population.[i] The Latino population in the U.S. grew 43 percent over the decade prior to 2010 and growth increasingly occurred in new communities. Overall population growth in the U.S. was just 10 percent over that time.[ii] Latinos are disproportionately affected by poverty, food insecurity, and unemployment. They are also more likely to receive emergency food assistance than their White, non-Hispanic peers and less likely to receive SNAP benefits. 

Food Insecurity

Latino households are more than twice as likely to be food insecure as White, non-Hispanic households.

  • Nearly one in four (24%) Latino households are food insecure as compared to just one in 10 (11%) White, non-Hispanic households and one in seven (14%) households overall.[iii]
  • More than one in four Latino children (30%) live in food insecure households as compared to one in seven (15%) White, non-Hispanic children.[iv]
  • The 89 counties in 2013 with a majority Hispanic population compose 3 percent of all U.S. counties. Twenty-seven percent of these majority Hispanic counties fall into the top 10 percent of counties with the highest rates of childhood food insecurity.[v]
  • Of the top 10 counties in the nation with the highest food-insecurity rates for children, three have a population that is majority Hispanic.

 

Charitable Food Assistance

Latino households are disproportionately represented within the charitable food assistance client population. Latinos are nearly two times as likely to receive charitable food assistance as their White, non-Hispanic peers.

  • More than one in six (17%) Latinos in the U.S. are served by the Feeding America network each year, totaling nine million Latino adults, seniors, and children. In contrast, ten percent of the White non-Hispanic population in the U.S. are Feeding America clients, meaning Latinos are almost two times as likely to receive assistance through the Feeding America network as their White, non-Hispanic peers.[vi]
  • Among Feeding America client households, Latino households with children are more likely to have one or more members working (81 percent) than are all households with children (73 percent).[vii]
  • Despite the fact that they are more likely to be working, Latino client households with children may struggle more because they have greater food budget needs. Among Latino households with children which are served by the Feeding America network, 82 percent have four or more members. For comparison, among all Feeding America client households with children, 70 percent have four or more members. Additionally, among Latino households with children which are served by the Feeding America network, 32 percent have six or more members, compared to 23 percent of all Feeding America client households with children.
  • Latino client households with children are more likely to have incomes below the federal poverty threshold (82 percent) than are all client households with children (77 percent).
  • Among Feeding America client households, Latino households with children are less likely to have ever applied for SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) (77 percent) than are all households with children (84 percent). Latino client households with children are also less likely to be receiving SNAP benefits currently (55 percent) than are all client households with children (59 percent). 


Poverty

Latino households experience disproportionate levels of poverty and have lower household income than their White, non-Hispanic counterparts.

  • Median income for Hispanic households ($41,000) is significantly lower than their White, non-Hispanic counterparts ($58,300).[viii]
  • Poverty rates for Hispanics (24%) were more than double that of non-Hispanic Whites (10%); however, among Hispanics, poverty rates and the number of people in poverty both decreased between 2012 and 2013 (from 26% to 24% and from 13.6 million to 12.7 million, respectively).[ix]
  • Nine percent of Latinos live in deep poverty (with incomes below 50% of the federal poverty threshold), compared to six percent of all people in the United States.[x]

 

SNAP

Latino households are less likely to receive SNAP benefits than White, non-Hispanic client households.

  • Among household heads of SNAP-receiving households, 10 percent were Hispanic compared to 40 percent who identified as White, non-Hispanic.[xi]

 

Nutrition and Obesity

Latino adults and children are at greater risk of obesity and diabetes than their African American and White, non-Hispanic peers. Diabetes and other chronic health conditions can further complicate the issue of food insecurity.

  • Hispanics are at greater risk of obesity than other racial and ethnic groups. In 2012, Hispanic Americans were 1.2 times as likely to be obese as non-Hispanic Whites.[xii]
  • Lifetime risk estimates for developing diabetes is higher for both Hispanic men and women than for other ethnic groups. Hispanic women born in 2000 have a 53 percent risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime compared to 31 percent risk for White, non-Hispanic females and a 49 percent risk among African American women. Similarly, Hispanic men have a 45 percent risk compared to a 27 percent risk among White, non-Hispanic males and a 40 percent risk among African American men.[xiii]



[i] ACS Table B03002. (2014). Hispanic or Latino Origin by Race. 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.

[ii] The Hispanic Population: 2010. (2011). U.S. Census Bureau.

[iii] Coleman-Jensen, A., Gregory, C., & Singh, A. (2014). Food Security in the United States in 2013. Table 2. USDA ERS.

[iv] Coleman-Jensen, A., Gregory, C., & Singh, A. (2014). Food Security in the United States in 2013, Statistical Supplement. Table S-3. USDA ERS.

[v] Gundersen, C., A. Satoh, A. Dewey, M. Kato & E. Engelhard. Map the Meal Gap 2015: Food Insecurity and Child Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level. Feeding America, 2015.

[vi] Feeding America, Hunger in America 2014, National Report. August 2014.

[vii] Feeding America, Hunger in America 2014, Analysis of restricted-use dataset by the Urban Institute. March 2015.

[viii] DeNavas-Walt, C. & Proctor, B.D. (2014). Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013. U.S. Census Bureau.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Ibid.

[xii] Table 29. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2012.

[xiii] Narayan KMV, Boyle JP, Thompson TJ, et al. “Lifetime Risk for Diabetes Mellitus in the United States.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 290(14): 1884-1890, 2003.

 

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