Hunger in America

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and food insecurity soared. In 2020, over 60 million people turned to food banks and community programs for help putting food on the table. 

Learn about hunger in your community >

Facts about hunger in America

Millions of children and families living in America face hunger and food insecurity every day.

  • Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 42 million people may experience food insecurity, including a potential 13 million children.
  • The pandemic has most impacted families that were already facing hunger or one paycheck away from facing hunger.
  • According to the USDA's latest Household Food Insecurity in the United States report, more than 38 million people in the United States experienced hunger in 2020. 
  • Households with children are more likely to experience food insecurity. Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 12 million children live in food-insecure households.
  • Every community in the country is home to families who face hunger, including rural and suburban communities.
  • Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and visit their local food banks and other food programs for extra support.
  • Hunger in African AmericanLatino, and  Native American communities is higher because of systemic racial injustice. To achieve a hunger-free America, we must address the root causes of hunger and structural and systemic inequities.

Who faces hunger in the United States?

Hunger can affect people from all walks of life. Millions of people in America are just one job loss, missed paycheck, or medical emergency away from hunger. But hunger doesn't affect everyone equally - some groups face like children, seniors, and Black, Indigenous, and other people of color face hunger at much higher rates. Hunger also most often affects our neighbors who live in poverty.

 

 

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DeAdra

Bradenton,
Florida

I’d spent many days going to sleep with an empty stomach, making sure he had all the food in the house.

DeAdra wants a better childhood for her three-year-old son with special needs but can't always put food on the table while caring for him full-time. With her local food pantry, DeAdra is now able to provide healthy food for Dacian and herself.

DeAdra

Bradenton,
Florida

DeAdra wants a better childhood for her three-year-old son with special needs but can't always put food on the table while caring for him full-time. With her local food pantry, DeAdra is now able to provide healthy food for Dacian and herself.

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Hunger is closer than you think

Children and adults face hunger in every community across the country. Your neighbor, child’s classmate or even coworker may be struggling to get enough to eat.

Explore our Map the Meal Gap interactive tool to learn more about hunger in your community ›
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Hunger threatens our nation's future

Many people facing hunger are forced to make tough choices between buying food and medical bills, food and rent and/or food and transportation. This struggle goes beyond harming an individual family’s future, it can harm us all.

Learn more about the consequences of hunger ›

What is food insecurity?

 

Food security is a federal measure of a household’s ability to provide enough food for every person in the household to have an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is one way we can measure the risk of hunger.

Learn more about food insecurity ›
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