Family with two young boys posing in front of a brick house.

Tough choices. Devastating consequences.

Imagine that you had just enough money to buy food for the week, with nothing left over to pay your utility bills or buy bus fare to get to work.

Many families experiencing hunger face these tough choices every day.

Compromises and coping strategies

The median annual income for households served by the Feeding America network is $9,175. In our 2014 Hunger in America study, our neighbors told us about the choices they face due to limited resources:

Had to choose between food and utilities
Had to choose between food and transportation
Had to choose between food and medical care
Had to choose between food and housing
Had to choose between food and education

They also told us about the many ways they stretch their food budget or work to supplement it:

Purchase inexpensive, unhealthy food
Receive help from friends or family
Water down food or drinks
Sell or pawn personal property
Grow food in a garden

The impact of hunger on health

Hunger and health are deeply connected. People who are food insecure are disproportionally affected by diet-sensitive chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and according to research, food insecurity is also linked to many adverse effects to overall health.

Learn more about the intersection of hunger and health ›

Hunger and child development

For children, food insecurity is particularly devastating. Not having enough healthy food can have serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity. Research shows an association between food insecurity and delayed development in young children; risk of chronic illnesses like asthma and anemia; and behavioral problems like hyperactivity, anxiety and aggression in school-age children.

Learn more about the 13 million children facing hunger in the U.S. today ›