United States Hunger Facts

Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. Unemployment rather than poverty is a stronger predictor of food insecurity. Michigan’s unemployment rate is 4%. The national average rate of unemployment is 3.8%

  • In 2014, the official poverty rate was 14.8 percent. There were 46.7 million people in poverty. Neither the poverty rate nor the number of people in poverty were statistically different from the 2013 estimates.
  • In 2014, 9.5 million (11.6 percent) families were in poverty.
  • In 2014, 25.5 million (13.5 percent) of people ages 18-64 were in poverty.
  • In 2014, 15.5 million (21.1 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty.
  • In 2014, 4.5 million (10.0 percent) seniors 65 and older were in poverty.
  • The overall Poverty Rate according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure is 15.3%, as compared with the official poverty rate of 14.8%.ii
  • Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, there are 48.4 million people living in poverty, 1.7 million more than are represented by the official poverty measure (46.7 million).iii

*Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014


Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security iv
  • In 2014, 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children.
  • In 2014, 14.0 percent of households (17.4 million households) were food insecure.
  • In 2013, 5.6 percent of households experienced very low food security.
  • Households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (19.2 %), especially households with children headed by single women (35.3%) or single me (21.7%), Black, non-Hispanic households (26.1%) and Hispanic households (22.4%).
  • In 2014, 9.% of seniors living alone (1.2 million households) were food insecure.
  • Food insecurity exists in every county in America.
More United States Hunger Facts
  • More than 50 percent of SNAP recipients are children and the elderly (45 percent are children and nearly 9 percent are elderly), and only 8 percent receive cash welfare. (USDA)
  • SNAP is a vital supplement to the monthly food budget of more than 47 million low-income individuals. (USDA)
  • 16 million kids in America live in households without consistent access to adequate food. (USDA)
  • 21 million children rely on free or reduced-fee lunches for their nutritional needs on an average school day and 10.1 out of 12.9 million children receive breakfast meals free or at a reduced price. (USDA)
  • The average SNAP household has about 2 people, with a gross monthly income of $744 and countable assets of just $331 (Feeding America, 2013)
  • The average monthly SNAP benefit per person was $126.83in FY2015, or less than $1.50 per person per meal (Feeding America, 2013)
  • 90 percent of SNAP benefits are redeemed by day 21 of the benefit period – meaning most SNAP benefits are not enough to last recipients all month (Feeding America, 2013).

World Hunger Facts

  • Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth.
  • The vast majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population is undernourished.
  • Asia is the continent with the most hungry people – two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it has increased slightly.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence(percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished.
  • Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year.
  • One out of six children — roughly 100 million — in developing countries is underweight.
  • One in four of the world’s children are stunted. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.
  • If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
  • WFP calculates that US$3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age children.

Source: http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats


  • Population: 7,308,800 [11]
  • # living below poverty line in 2008: 1,651,300, 23.7%[12]
Other Stats in Israel:
  • Hunger is on the rise in Israel. Throughout the country, increasing numbers of Israelis are relying on emergency food programs to meet their most basic nutritional needs.
  • According to the National Insurance Institute, approximately 783,600 children live below the national poverty line.[12]
  • Over 20% of Israel’s elderly live below the national poverty line

Hunger in Michigan

  • 4% of Michigan residents are food insecure, and 22.3% of all Michigan children.(Food Bank Council of Michigan)
  • More than 48% of school-aged children are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. To be eligible for reduced-priced lunches, kids must live at 185 percent of poverty, or about $44,000 a year for a family of four. To receive free lunches, kids must live at 130 percent of poverty, or about $31,000 for a family of four. (Kids Count in Michigan, 2015).
  • Out of the Michigan children who receive free or reduced-price school lunch, 42 percent live in Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, or Wayne County. (Kids Count in Michigan, 2015).
  • 1 in 4 Michigan children (24%) live in poverty, with household incomes under $24,000 for a family of 4 (Kids Count in Michigan, 2015).

Interactive Map of Poverty Data:


  • i U.S. Census Bureau. Carmen DeNavas-Walt, B. Proctor. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014. September 2015.
  • ii The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2014. (2015). U.S. Census Bureau.
  • iii Ibid.
  • iv USDA. Coleman-Jensen, A., Rabbitt, M.P., Gregory, C., & Singh, A. Household Food Security in the United States in 2014.
  • v Feeding America. Gundersen, G., Waxman, E., Engelhard, E., Del Vecchio, T., Satoh, A., & Lopez-Betanzos, A. Map the Meal Gap 2012.
  • vi USDA. Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., Andrews, M., & Carlson, S. Household Food Security in the United States in 2011.
  • vii lbid.
  • viii lbid.
  • ixRhoda Cohen, J., Mabli, F., Potter, Z., Zhao. Mathematica Policy Research, Feeding America. Hunger in America 2010.
  • x lbid.
  • xi U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2011 Annual Average Unemployment Rates.