Data & Statistics on Hunger

Hunger Quick Facts for 2022

  • Overall: One in 8 households (12.8 percent) experienced food insecurity, or lack of access to an affordable, nutritious diet. An estimated 44.2 million Americans lived in these households.
  • One in 20 (5.1 percent) households in the U.S. experienced very low food security, a more severe form of food insecurity, where households report regularly skipping meals or reducing intake because they could not afford more food. 
  • Children: Over 1 in 6 households with children (17.3 percent) experienced food insecurity, an increase of 40 percent compared to 2021. 
  • Race and ethnicity: Black (22.4 percent) and Latinx (20.8 percent) households are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, with food insecurity rates more than double double the rate of White non-Latinx households (9.3 percent).  
  • Rural: Households in rural areas experienced deeper struggles with hunger compared to those in metro areas (cities + suburbs). In 2022, 14.7 percent of households in rural areas experienced food insecurity compared to 12.5 percent of households in metro areas. 
  • Geography: The food insecurity rate is highest in the South (14.5 percent), followed by the Midwest (12.4 percent), the Northeast (11.6 percent), and the West (11.2 percent).  
  • The prevalence of food insecurity varied considerably by state, ranging from 6.2 percent in New Hampshire to 16.6 percent in Arkansas (for the three-year period of 2020-2022). 

Report: Household Food Security in the United States in 2022
Charts, including state map: Key Statistics and Graphics about Hunger in 2022

Updated 10/25/2023

Poverty Quick Facts

  • Overall poverty: According to the official poverty rate, 37.9 million people (11.5 percent) lived in poverty in 2022, unchanged from 2021. However, according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which accounts for cost of living and the receipt of social safety net programs, the poverty rate increased by 60%, from 25.6 million people (7.8 percent) in 2021 to 40.9 million people (12.4 percent) in 2022.
  • Income: After accounting for inflation, real median household income declined by 2.3 percent, from $76,330 in 2021 to $74,580 in 2022.
  • Context: Normally, the SPM is higher than the official poverty rate. In 2020 and 2021 it was lower than the official poverty rate, reflecting the impact of expansions to federal assistance programs during the pandemic. Conversely, in 2022, the higher value of the SPM reflects the end of pandemic-era assistance. 

Poverty rates using the comprehensive Supplemental Poverty Measure for specific groups:

  • Children: 1 in 8 (12.4 percent or 9.0 million) children lived in poverty in 2022, more than double the number of children in poverty in 2021 (5.2 percent or 3.8 million). 
  • Race/Ethnicity: In 2022, the supplemental poverty measure was much higher for Black individuals (17.2 percent), Latinx individuals (19.3 percent), and Native American and Alaska Native individuals (23.2 percent) than for White individuals (9.1 percent). All rates reflect an increase from 2021. Higher rates of poverty in Black, Latinx and Native communities are due to systemic racism that results in neighborhood disinvestment, occupational segregation, wage discrimination, etc. 
  • Geography: Nationally, the Southern region had the highest average poverty rate (13.7 percent) followed by the Western region (13.4 percent), the Northeast region (11.9) and the Midwest region (9.1 percent). 
  • Role of the Federal Nutrition Programs: The federal nutrition programs lifted more people out of poverty in 2022 compared to 2021 and 2020. In 2022, SNAP lifted 3.7 million people out of poverty, 1.4 of whom were children, school meals lifted 1.5 million people out of poverty, 830,000 of which were children, and WIC lifted 164,000 people out of poverty, 98,000 of whom were children.  

On September 12, 2023, the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest reports Poverty in the United States: 2022, Income in the United States: 2022, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2022. 

Census Data Reveals Surge in Poverty

On September 12, 2023, the Census released data on poverty in the U.S. for 2022. We learned that, from 2021 to 2022, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) increased by 60 percent overall and more than doubled among children. This significant increase in poverty is likely due to the end of pandemic-era programs and is one of many indicators that hunger is also on the rise. Learn more in this FRAC Chat blog.

Find out more

Pandemic Disrupted Decade-Long Decline in Food Insecurity in 2020

Food insecurity rates plateaued over the last three years, disrupting an almost decade-long decline in food insecurity since the Great Recession. Yet the fact that food insecurity did not increase in 2020 and 2021 is a testament to the magnitude of the federal pandemic response.

Learn More

Recent Publications

Hunger, Poverty, and Health Disparities During COVID-19 and the Federal Nutrition Programs’ Role in an Equitable Recovery

The health and economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has made the federal nutrition programs more important than ever. FRAC’s latest report is a review of new research on how the federal nutrition programs reduce hunger, poverty, and health, including their efficacy during the pandemic, and concludes with policy recommendations to leverage the federal nutrition programs for a robust and equitable recovery.

Learn More

Food Over Fear: Overcoming Barriers to Connect Latinx Immigrant Families to Federal Nutrition and Food Programs

Read FRAC and National Immigration Law Center’s report which sheds light on why many immigrant families are forgoing vital assistance from federal nutrition and food programs and lifts up recommendations aimed at ensuring that all families and individuals, regardless of immigration status, are nourished and healthy.

Read the Report

Fact Sheets on the Impact of COVID-19 on Special Populations

COVID-19 has created disparate impacts on diverse populations, including Black communities; Latinx communities; American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities; Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities; young adults; older adults; women; households with low income; households with low education attainment; and rural communities.

Learn more in FRAC's fact sheets

Taking Action

White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

Learn more about FRAC’s priorities for the upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health and how to get involved.

Solutions Exist to End Hunger & Poverty

Hunger in America is a serious issue that requires a serious response. When there is talk about improving opportunities for all Americans through education, health care, and the economy, addressing hunger and poverty must be a part of that conversation.

graduation cap
The last thing on a hungry child’s mind is learning. Children are better equipped to learn when they have the nutrition they need. Yet too many low-income children who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals are not accessing them. More must be done to increase participation in school meals, summers meals, afterschool meals, and child care meals.
hospital icon
Health care
Research shows that food insecurity is linked with costly chronic diseases and unfavorable outcomes. According to the Root Cause Coalition, the annual costs of hunger to the U.S. health care system are $130.5 billion. Greater investments in nutrition programs would go a long way in addressing obesity and other negative health outcomes faced by low-income Americans.
money icon
SNAP serves as the first line of defense against hunger for millions of Americans. The program also stimulates the economy. Recent census data shows that SNAP lifted 3.6 million people out of poverty in 2016. In addition, USDA research shows that each $5 of SNAP benefits generates nearly twice that in economic activity. Federal nutrition programs can’t do it alone. There must be a comprehensive approach.

Recent Publications & Data

See More Resources
  • Report

    Efforts by health care providers to address food insecurity continue to grow. FRAC’s new research brief underscores the importance of connecting patients to SNAP, WIC, and other federal nutrition programs as the foundational intervention to address food insecurity in health care settings;
    provides key steps that health care providers can take to connect patients to federal nutrition programs; and synthesizes research on food insecurity interventions in health care settings that featured connecting patients to SNAP and WIC. Learn more in Connecting Patients to SNAP and WIC in Health Care Settings.

    Read the research brief
  • Advocacy Tool

    The federal nutrition programs are a critical support for tens of millions of households — including individuals of all ages — by helping them put food on the table during times of need. Investing in hunger prevention and relief makes good fiscal sense. Hunger increases health care costs, lowers worker productivity, harms children’s development, and diminishes students’ educational attainment. These negative impacts can be minimized with robust funding and support for the federal nutrition programs. Use this Fiscal Year 2025 Budget and Appropriations leave behind in your advocacy. 

    Read the leave behind
  • Advocacy Tool

    School meals play an important role in reducing childhood hunger, supporting good nutrition, and ensuring that students are hunger-free and ready to get the most out of their school day. Use this 2024 Healthy School Meals for All leave behind in your advocacy. 

    Read the leave behind
  • Advocacy Tool

    An expanded and inclusive CTC is a transformational policy for addressing hunger among families with children.3 With the tax credit improvements in the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, Congress has a unique opportunity to address hunger among households with children and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of millions in our nation. Use this 2024 Leave Behind in your advocacy. 

    Read the leave behind
Taking Action
Plan of Action to End Hunger in America
There can be no more excuses for hunger in this country. In our A Plan of Action to End Hunger in America, we recommend eight strategies to reduce the suffering and unnecessary costs caused by struggles with hunger, poverty, and reduced opportunity.