Overview of Hunger In America
In 2011, the US Census Bureau released their report from the data collected in the 2010 census. The results were astonishing. Over 46 million Americans are living in poverty and 1 in 5 children are in danger of going without adequate food at some point. This means that over 49 million people suffered food insecurity; the highest rate in 14 years.
The Obama administration responded to the statistics with a renewed commitment to combating domestic hunger through benefits program.
What is Hunger?
When you hear about a family or a child being "hungry," this could mean a couple of different things. "Hunger" is the physical sensation that results from not having had enough food to eat; however, when talking about "hunger in America," what we're often talking about is more accurately called "food insecurity." Food insecurity is defined as a lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs due to lack of financial resources. Hunger is the worst-case scenario of food insecurity.
Who is Hungry and Why?
- 49 million Americans were food insecure in 2008
- 16.7 million children in the U.S. are food insecure.
- 2/3 of households facing food insecurity reported having at least one member employed full-time.
People facing food insecurity and hunger are most likely to live in households near or below the poverty line. In addition, households with children are almost twice as likely to face hunger as those without.
Poverty and politics are the main causes of hunger in the United States. The U.S. produces enough food to feed everyone in the country and we have the resources and technology to distribute that food widely. However, millions of Americans can't afford food and current policy programs aren't enough to bridge the gap.
Hunger is a serious problem in the U.S., made more shameful by the fact that it is unnecessary and solvable. By devoting resources and expertise to programs that make housing and health care more affordable, food assistance more accessible, and increase wages for American workers, the U.S. could end hunger.