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. 



The Map the Meal Gap analyses demonstrate that unemployment is a major contributing factor to food insecurity.  Unemployment is significantly higher among Latinos than among white, non-Hispanics.

  • In 2013, Hispanics/Latinos were significantly more likely to be unemployed (9%)[iii] than non-Hispanic Whites (7%).[iv]

Food Insecurity

Latino households are more than twice as likely to be food insecure as White, non-Hispanic households. Counties with majority Latino populations are disproportionately represented among the top 10% of counties with the highest rates of child food insecurity.

  • Nearly one in four (24%) Latino households are food insecure as compared to just one in 10 (11%) Caucasian households and one in seven (14%) households overall.[v]
  • More than one in four Latino children (30%) live in food insecure households as compared to one in seven (15%) Caucasian children.[vi]
  • The 89 counties in 2013 with a majority Hispanic population compose 3 percent of all U.S. counties.  While only two percent of these majority Hispanic counties fall into the top 10 percent of counties with the highest rates of general food insecurity (Yuma, AZ and Luna, NM), 24 percent of these majority Hispanic counties fall into the top 10 percent of counties with the highest rates of childhood food insecurity.[vii]
  • Of the top 10 counties in the nation with the highest food-insecurity rates for children, three are majority Hispanic counties.


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 Caucasian 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.
  • 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.[viii]



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).[ix]
  • 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 significantly between 2012 and 2013 (from 26% to 24% and from 13.6 million to 12.7 million, respectively).[x]
  • Nine percent of Latinos live in deep poverty (less than 50% of the federal poverty threshold), compared to 6 percent of all people in the United States.[xi]



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.[xii]


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.[xiii]
  • 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 non-Hispanic white 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 non-Hispanic white males and a 40 percent risk among African American men.[xiv]

  • Latino children and adolescents are also at greater risk of being overweight and of being obese than their White or African-American peers: 38 percent of Hispanic children age 2 to 19 are overweight or obese compared with 32 percent of all children.[xv]


[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] CPS Table 4. (2014). Employment status of the Hispanic or Latino population by age and sex

[iv] CPS Table 3. (2014). Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population by sex, age, and race. Household data annual averages. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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

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

[vii] 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.

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

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

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Ibid.

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

[xiv] 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.

[xv] Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, Lamb MM and Flegal KM. “Prevalence of High Body Mass Index in US Children and Adolescents, 2007–2008.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(3): 242–249, 2010


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