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American Hunger

May 16, 2011

Hunger. Food Insecurity. Food Poverty. Global Hunger. The World Table. These buzz words are becoming more prevalent throughout the national media and throughout the world, but what about those who are hungry right here in our dear America?

According to World Hunger Education Service domestic hunger has seen a dramatic increase in the past three years. While American statistics don’t measure hunger they do measure food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined like this:

Low Food Insecurity – This includes 10.4 million US Households in 2008. In these households members found enough food to avoid major disruption in their diets. Many cope using Federal food assistance programs.

Food Insecurity – Included 17 million households in 2008. This means those going without food, the hungry and those living in poverty.

According to the report by World Hunger Education Service, there are three causes to poverty in the United States:

"There are, we believe, three main causes of poverty in the United States: poverty in the world; the operation of the political and economic system in the United States which has tended to keep people from poor families poor, and the culture of inequality and poverty that can negatively influence the behavior of at least some people who are poor. "

These families are your neighbors, co-workers and friends. Imagine being a mother putting your children to bed hungry. I can’t fathom that and I am not even a mother.  What is the answer? Farmers like you!

Groups like Farmers Feeding the World are working diligently with the help of organizations like Heifer International, The World Food Programme and the Howard G. Buffett foundation to put food on tables around the world and at home. I encourage you to check out their website or find them on Facebook.



More American Poverty Statistics


  • In 2009, 43.6 million people were poor, up from  39.8 million in 2008 and 37.3 million in 2007 .  The nation's official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008 — the second statistically significant annual increase in the poverty rate since 2004. (Census Bureau 2010a p.13)


  • The poverty rate in 2009 was the highest since 1994, but was 8.1 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available. The number of people in poverty in 2009 is the largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available.(Census Bureau 2010a p.13)


  • Between 2008 and 2009, the poverty rate increased for children under the age of 18 from 19.0 percent to 20.7 percent. Thus one in five children in the United States live in poverty. Almost half of these children (9.3 percent) live in extreme poverty. (Census Bureau 2010a p.13)


  • In 2009, the family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty were 11.1 percent and 8.8 million, respectively, up from 10.3 percent and 8.1 million in 2008. (Census Bureau 2010a p.18)


  • 19 million Americans( 6.3 percent) live in extreme poverty. This means their family’s cash income is less than half of the poverty line, or less than about $11,000 a year for a family of four. (Census Bureau 2010a p.19)


  • 16 million low-income households either paid more for rent and utilities than the federal government says is affordable or lived in overcrowded or substandard housing (CBPP 2007).


  • The percentage of people without health insurance increased to 16.7 percent in 2009 from 15.4 percent in 2008. The number of uninsured people increased to 50.7 million in 2009 from 46.3 million in 2008 (Census Bureau 2010a p. 22)


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