Facts about Hunger 

You can’t always spot hunger, but it exists all around us. 

Hunger in America is different than you may think.

Many people think that hunger happens in distant places, where famine plagues a community and people are starving because there is just no food. There is a common misconception that hunger exists in other places, not in America, one of the most affluent countries in the world.

While chronic hunger is a problem in other countries, America too, has a hunger problem. People don’t realize this because hunger in America looks much different than in other places.

Hunger in America

  • Many people have full-time jobs, but still suffer from hunger.
  • Homeless individuals are a small portion of people who are food insecure. Most food insecure people have homes, but they still struggle with hunger.
  • According to Feeding America, 84% of households that Feeding America serves, report buying the cheapest food, instead of healthy food, in order to provide enough to eat. 2 This is a consequence of food insecurity, which is a common problem in low-income populations.
  • People who face food insecurity not only lack consistent access to food, but also the majority of what they eat is not substantial or nutritious. Because of this, low-income people often face health problems that can be linked to poor nutrition, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and more.
  • Food insecurity is a complex problem. It usually goes hand-in-hand with other social challenges that are especially burdensome on low-income populations such as: high medical costs, health problems, lack of transportation, lack of affordable housing, low wages, and many, many more. People who face these challenges are more vulnerable to food insecurity.

Health & Hunger in Dallas

  • 1 in 6 people in North Texas is food insecure. 4
  • Dallas County is seriously impacted by hunger. The rate of food insecurity in Dallas County is 47% higher than the national average. 4
  • 1 in every 5 kids in North Texas is food insecure. 4
  • 1 in every 10 people in Dallas County has diabetes. 9
  • 1 in 5 people in Dallas County don’t have health insurance. This is one of the highest rates for a major city in the country. 9

What is Food Insecurity?

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.6 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.” 1

What is SNAP?

SNAP is the program formerly known as food stamps. SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, it is a federal program that helps millions of low-income Americans put food on the table. Across the United States there are 9.5 million families with children on SNAP. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. 3

Who does SNAP help?

64% of SNAP recipients are either children, senior citizens, or disabled adults. The remaining recipients are people need a helping hand. They may be caretakers of others, work full-time but receive low wages, or are temporarily unemployed and participating in a training program. SNAP is meant to be a temporary assistance program and help people going through a difficult time.

Do people take advantage of SNAP?

The SNAP program is one of the most efficient public benefit programs. Fraud and error rates for this program are historically low, due to continual program improvements, rigorous quality control systems, and lots of program research.The people who receive SNAP benefits need assistance; there are also many people who need food assistance, but don’t receive SNAP benefits even though they are eligible. 7, 8