Child hunger in America is going to increased quickly, the problem will get worse.
As of late July, children faced food shortages in 19% of households, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. That’s about 16 million children going hungry, more than triple the peak of the 2008 recession.
Congress is making things worse by allowing relief measures to lapse. Expanded unemployment benefits, which provided an added $600 a week through July 31, reduced food insufficiency by an estimated 30%. Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfers, which aimed to compensate families whose kids missed free or reduced-price lunches due to school closures in spring, had a similar effect through the summer. Without such support, the number of children going hungry is likely to double. It’s already on the rise.
Even in good times, the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps) falls short of reaching everyone in need. As of 2018, some 2.5 million children lived in households that reported being unable to give their children enough to eat.
Children need healthy food to grow, learn, and thrive. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, however, children in America went hungry at alarming rates. Institutional racism, low wages, and other inequities made it impossible for many families—especially Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous families—to put food on the table.
Facts about child hunger in America
- The number of children facing hunger in the United States rose during the pandemic –
- from more than 10 million children in 2019 to nearly 12 million children in 2020.
- Families with children, especially single-parent families, are more likely to face hunger.
- Black and Latino children are more than twice as likely to face hunger as white children because of systemic racial injustice.
- To end child hunger, we must address the inequalities that make it more difficult for families to remove hunger.
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