Hunger and Food Insecurity in the United States
Facts about hunger in America
Every community in America has families that struggle with hunger. This Hunger Action Month, learn more about hunger in America.
Difference between Food Insecurity and Hunger
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It is important to know that though hunger and food insecurity are closely related, they are distinct concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level.
Food insecurity does not exist in isolation, as low-income families are affected by multiple, overlapping issues like lack of affordable housing, social isolation, chronic or acute health problems, high medical costs, and low wages. Taken together, these issues are important social determinants of health, defined as the “conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.” Effective responses to food insecurity must address the overlapping challenges posed by the social determinants of health. Hunger + Health explores the impact of food insecurity as a social determinant of health and its effect on individual and population health outcomes.
Characteristics of Households with Very Low Food Security
Conditions reported by households with very low food security are compared with those reported by food-secure households and by households with low (but not very low) food security in the following chart:
In Virginia, 1 in 10 people struggles with hunger and 1 in 8 children struggle with hunger. In Fairfax and Loudoun counties, that number is 1 in 4 children.
In Fairfax County, ranked 2nd nationally for highest median household income, 7.1 percent of residents (76,000 out of 1,064,735 individuals) are food insecure.
Feeding America, FCPS School Profiles, Fairfax County Poverty Demographics, Virginia Department of Education Statistics, Food for Neighbors.
On campus (averaging stats from various research surveys)
City & State
"Food insecurity describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is one way we can measure and assess the risk of hunger. In the United States currently, 1 in 9 people struggle with hunger." (from Feeding America)