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

Visit FRAC’s Legislative Action Center for actions you can take!

Get state data (pdf files):

Food insecurity between 2013 and 2015

Household-Level Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security by State, 2010-2012 and 2013-2015

Poverty rate and less than 185% of FPL for all residents in 2015

Poverty rate and less than 185% of FPL for children in 2015

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 4.6 million people out of poverty in 2015.

Hunger and poverty affect far too many Americans. Here are the latest numbers from USDA’s Household Food Security in the United States in 2015:


  • More than 42.2 million Americans lived in households that struggled against hunger in 2015. The 2015 numbers were a significant improvement from 2014, with the rate declining from 15.4 percent of individuals to 13.4 percent.
  • The number of Americans in households experiencing food insecurity fell by almost 6 million between 2014 and 2015. The number of individuals in households that faced the deepest struggles with hunger — “very low food security” — was 5 percent in 2015 . The number of children living in food-insecure households in 2015 improved by more than 2 million, from 15.3 million in 2014 to 13.1 million in 2015, with the rate among children declining from 20.9 percent to 17.9 percent.
  • 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 (15.4 percent compared to 12.2 percent), higher rates of food insecurity in households with children (20.5 percent compared to 15.9 percent), and higher rates of very low food security (6.1 percent compared to 4.9 percent).
  • Food insecurity rates for Black and Hispanic households were substantially above the national average, with 21.5 percent of Black households and 19.1 percent of Hispanic households reporting they struggled against hunger in 2015.
  • State food insecurity rates ranged from 20.8 percent of Mississippi households to 8.5 percent of North Dakota households for the period of 2013 to 2015, 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 2015, 44.1 million people (13.5 percent) lived in poverty, down from 14.8 percent in 2014, the largest drop in poverty since 1999. In 2015, there were 3.6 million fewer people living in poverty than in 2014.
  • Children continue to have high poverty rates, with 19.7 percent of children under 18 living in poverty in 2015.
  • 12.4 percent of people aged 18 to 64 were in poverty compared with 8.8 percent of people aged 65 and older.
  • The 2015 poverty rate was 24.1 percent for Blacks and 21.4 percent for Hispanics.