New USDA Report Findings Demonstrate Slight Improvement in Food Insecure Population

40 Million Americans Still Face Hunger, Including More Than 12 Million Children

September 5, 2018

A new report released today by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that 1 in 8 households (11.8%) in the United States encountered difficulty at some time during 2017 in providing enough food for all their members. This represents a decline of 0.5 percentage points from the previous year’s data.  Still, the improvements are not enough to overcome the effects of the Great Recession as there are still more households experiencing hunger now than in 2007.

According to USDA, 40 million Americans face hunger, including 12.5 million children. Some of the groups experiencing the highest rates of food insecurity include households with children led by single women (30.3%) and people living below the poverty level (36.8%).

“We are pleased to see that food insecurity rates have decreased in recent years, but still 40 million Americans facing hunger is a statistic that no one should be comfortable with,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “As policy makers debate legislation that could impact millions of households, we urge Congress to protect SNAP and increase TEFAP funding, programs that are critical to our work to address hunger, in the farm bill.”

Additionally, the report looked at the variety of methods households employ to meet their food needs. For instance, more than half (58.4%) of food-insecure households below 185% of the federal poverty line reported participating in one or more of the three largest federal food and nutrition assistance programs (SNAP, NSLP, and WIC) in the previous 30 days.

The report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2017, is published by USDA’s Economic Research Service and reports on data collected in December 2017. The report also presents statistics on how much households spent on food, and the extent to which food-insecure households participated in federal and community food assistance programs for 2017.

To see the full report, visit


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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.