Hunger and poverty in America

Hunger and poverty are closely related. People with lower incomes are less likely to be able to afford healthy food regularly. However, not everyone who faces hunger lives at or below the poverty line. Two-thirds of our neighbors in need live above the poverty line and, therefore, are ineligible for food programs that could help them make ends meet.

Facts about poverty and hunger in America

  • According to the Census, in 2020 over 37 million people lived in poverty.
  • Food insecurity and hunger are economic issues. The most common cause of food insecurity is a lower income.
  • Making ends meet with a lower income is more difficult if you are unemployed or employed in low-wage work, experience a financial emergency, have limited savings, and rent rather than own your home.
  • Communities of color, especially Black communities, experience hunger, poverty, and unemployment at much higher rates than white people. This is because of long-standing racial injustice that leads to barriers in education, employment, housing, and more.
  • People living with a disability and people living with chronic conditions are also more likely to experience hunger and lower incomes. Living with a disability or chronic condition may lead to higher medical costs, prevent people from working regularly, or simply make grocery shopping more difficult. And people living with disabilities face discrimination in employment.

Poverty Facts:

37.2 million

people live in poverty

11.4% of people

in the United States experience poverty

1 in 6 children

lived in poverty in 2020

Source: United States Census Bureau