Hunger and Poverty in the U.S.

Learn how you can help end hunger…

Download the Eight Essential Strategies in FRAC’s A Plan of Action to End Hunger in America

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Get state data (pdf files):

Food insecurity between 2012 and 2014

Poverty rate and less than 185% of FPL for all residents in 2014

Poverty rate and less than 185% of FPL for children in 2014

Poverty rate and less than 185% of FPL for counties within states for all residents in  2011-2013

Poverty rate and less than 185% of FPL for counties within states for children in 2011-2013

The federal nutrition programs lift households out of poverty. Nationally, SNAP lifted 3.6 million people out of poverty in 2014. Learn more about the SNAP effect.

Hunger and poverty affect far too many Americans. Here are the latest numbers from USDA’s Household Food Security in the United States in 2014:


  • More than 48.1 million Americans lived in households that struggled against hunger in 2014. The 2014 numbers were a slight decline (of fewer than a million people) from 2013, with the rate declining from 15.8 to 15.4 percent.
  • The number of individuals in households that faced the deepest struggles with hunger – “very low food security” – was 5.5 percent in 2014.
    15.3 million children lived in food insecure households in 2014, compared to 15.8 million in 2013.
  • Households outside metropolitan areas (more rural areas) are seeing considerably deeper struggles with hunger compared to those inside metropolitan areas, with higher rates of food insecurity (17.1 percent compared to 13.5 percent), higher rates of food insecurity in households with children (23.6 percent compared to 18.4 percent), and higher rates of very low food security (7.3 percent compared to 5.3 percent).
  • Food insecurity rates for Black and Hispanic households were substantially above the national average, with 26.1 percent of Black households and 22.4 percent of Hispanic households reporting they struggled against hunger in 2014.
  • State food insecurity rates ranged from 22 percent of Mississippi households to 8.4 percent of North Dakota households for the period of 2012 to 2014, showing that no corner of the country is immune from food insecurity. (USDA uses three year averages for states to obtain adequate sample sizes.)


  • The Census Bureau (pdf) reported that in 2014, 46.7 million people (14.8 percent) lived in poverty. This marked the fourth consecutive year that the number of people in poverty at the national level was not statistically different from the previous year’s estimate.
  • Children continue to have high poverty rates, with 21.1 percent of children under 18 living in poverty in 2014.
  • 13.5 percent of people aged 18 to 64 were in poverty compared with 10.0 percent of people aged 65 and older.
  • The 2014 poverty rate was 26.2 percent for Blacks and 23.6 percent for Hispanics.