Child hunger keeps kids from reaching their full potential

Getting enough food is an important first step to ensuring kids can achieve their goals. However, the reality is that 1 in 5 children across America don't have enough to eat.

A happy child eating a meal at a park bench.

Facts about child hunger

We all deserve to have enough food to eat without worrying about if we can afford it. At Feeding America, we are working to make this a reality by:

  • More than 13 million children faced hunger in 2022.

    According to the USDA, one in every five children is unsure where they will get their next meal.

  • Families with children are more likely to face hunger.

    Raising kids can cost a lot of money. Buying clothes, getting food, and paying for school can all add up fast and make it tough for families to meet all their needs.

  • Black and Latino children are twice as likely to face hunger.

    Many families, regardless of their race, have a hard time affording food. However, it happens more frequently to families of color because of discrimination based on race.

  • Single-parent families are more likely to face hunger.

    Managing expenses can be tough with one source of income. In 2022, 33% of households headed by single moms experienced food insecurity.

Causes of child hunger

There are many reasons why kids might not have enough to eat. Some of the common reasons include:

Low family incomes

Although parents and caregivers work hard to provide for their children, low wages make it difficult to have enough money to buy food.

Lack of affordable housing

Despite budgeting and saving, the high cost of housing can make it difficult for families with children to afford food and rent.

Racism and discrimination

Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans are more likely to face barriers to getting food.

Effects of child hunger

Hunger can affect children's health, development, and well-being. Some common effects include:

Poor academic performance

Children who experience food insecurity may have trouble focusing and learning in school.

Increased health problems

Kids who don't get enough food to eat face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma.

Developmental differences

Hunger can change how a child's brain and body grow and affect their thinking, learning, and behavior.

Ending child hunger

When children have enough food, they can concentrate on important things like doing well in school, playing sports, and graduating.

A child holding a lunch bag in front of a park.

Child food programs

We support programs that provide food to children after school, over the weekend and during the summer.

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A family smiling at the camera.

SNAP application assistance

We help families understand and apply for SNAP benefits, so they have extra money for buying food.


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Food bank workers organizing food in boxes.

Advocating for food programs

We support policies that give food to people facing food insecurity through programs like SNAP and TEFAP.

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