In many ways, America is the land of plenty. But for 1 in 6 people in the United States, hunger is a very real struggle. Many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country, or certain neighborhoods, but the reality is much different. Right now, millions of Americans are at risk of hunger. These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot always make ends meet and may be forced to go without food.

  • 1 in 6 Americans do not have access to enough food to sustain a healthy productive life.
  • 16 million children are living in food-insecure households.
  • 54% of households served by the Food Banking network include at least one person who works.
  • In 2013, 28% of adults participating in the Hunger Study have a post-high school education, including business license, some college or a four year degree. Education is extremely important, but sometimes it ’s just not enough.
  • The lack of adequate nutrition affects the cognitive and behavioral development of children.
  • Children from food insecure, low income households, are more likely to experience irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating compared to other children. This can make performing in school very difficult.
  • According to the USDA, in 2012, more than 3 million rural households experience food insecurity – that means they don’t have dependable access to enough food to sustain a healthy life.
  • According to the US Census Bureau, in 2012, poverty rates were highest among rural non-metropolitan counties, where it can be more difficult for food banks and emergency food assistance to support them.

49 million Americans don’t have dependable, consistent access to enough food due to limited money and resources in 2012 according to the USDA.



Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. Poverty is only one of many factors associated with food insecurity. In fact, higher unemployment, lower household assets, and certain demographic characteristics also lead to a lack of access to adequate, nutritious food.


In 2013, 45.3 million people (14.5 percent) were in poverty.

  • In 2013, 26.4 million (13.6 percent) of people ages 18-64 were in poverty.
  • In 2013, 14.7 million (19.9 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty.
  • In 2013, 4.2 million (9.5 percent) seniors 65 and older were in poverty.
  • In 2012, the overall poverty rate according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure is 16 percent, as compared with the official poverty rate of 15 percent.
  • Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, there are 49.7 million people living in poverty, nearly 3 million more than are represented by the official poverty measure (47.0 million).


  • In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children.
  • In 2013, 14 percent of households (17.5 million households) were food insecure.
  • In 2013, 6 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security.
  • In 2013, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20 percent compared to 12 percent.
  • In 2013, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20%), especially households with children headed by single women (34%) or single men (23%), Black non-Hispanic households (26%) and Hispanic households (24%).
  • In 2011, 4.8 million seniors (over age 60), or 8 percent of all seniors were food insecure.
  • Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 4 percent in Slope County, ND to a high of 33 percent in Humphreys County, MS.


Click HERE to view the Executive Summary.
Click HERE to view the Full Report.
Click HERE to see other research from Feeding America.



Hunger is sadly alive and well on Hawai`i Island.  The Food Basket serves 1 in 3 island residents through their partner agencies.  If you or someone you know is hungry and needs food, please contact The Food Basket at 808-933-6030.