Hunger in America Study 2014

Feeding America’s Hunger in America 2014 report is the largest, most comprehensive analysis of charitable food assistance in America.

Food banks from all over the country, including Atlanta Community Food Bank, participated in the study to learn more about the clients we serve and the need in our community.

The new report shows that 1 in 7.5 people, or an estimated 755,400 people, in metro Atlanta and north Georgia turn to food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families each year. This includes more than 164,000 children and more than 64,000 seniors.

Each year, 1 in 7 Americans turn to Feeding America network food banks for help. Each week, the Feeding America network serves 5.4 million individuals. The Food Bank has been a member of the Feeding America network since 1979.

For the Atlanta Community Food Bank service area, the report shows that 80,600 people are served each week by programs supported through the Food Bank, and that those clients turn to the Food Bank partner programs and pantries for help more than 6.1 million times over the course of the year. This means clients are visiting the Food Bank network programs an average of 8 times a year.

The new study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by the Food Bank – their circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes.

Among the findings – the report reveals very telling facts about the employment and income situations of our clients:

  • 56% of client households report monthly incomes of less than $1000.

  • 28% of respondents have faced foreclosure or eviction in the past five years.

  • Among all households served by Atlanta Community Food Bank agencies and programs, 59% have at least one member who has been employed in the past year.

The report also goes into detail about some of the tough choices our clients face each month when it comes to deciding what to pay for when you have limited means. Some examples of what we call “spending trade-offs” include:

  • 76% report choosing between paying for food and paying for utilities.

    • 43% of these households are making the choice every month.

  • 82% report making choices between paying for food and paying for transportation.

    • 46% of these households are making the choice every month.

  • 73% report choosing between paying for food and paying for medicine/medical care.

    • 36% of these households are making the choice every month.

  • 62% report choosing between paying for food and paying for housing.

    • 35% of these households are making the choice every month.

  • 39% report choosing between paying for food and paying for education expenses.

    • 22% are making the choice every month.

Our clients are also forced to make tough choices about the food that they eat. Subsequently, many of them suffer from chronic health conditions. For example:

  • 86% of households report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food because they could not afford healthier options.

  • 73% of households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.

  • 40% of households include a member with diabetes.

Download the Food Bank executive summary.

Download the national full report.

Download the national executive summary.

Download our handy one page infographic.

Georgia Statistics
  • Monthly allotments for food-insecure families receiving food stamps decreased beginning Nov. 1, 2013. $36 less each month for a household of four. (Atlanta Community Food Bank and Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Oct. 2013
  • 18.5 percent of Georgians are living in poverty. Poverty in Georgia increased from 12.9% in 2000 to 19% in 2013 – an increase of almost 1 million Georgians over the past 13 years. (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Profile. Data released Sept. 2014)
  • 47.7 million Americans (15.6%) were reported as living at or below the poverty level in 2013. (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2010-2014 estimate.)
  • The number of children living in poverty in the U.S. is 21.9%(U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2010-2014 estimate.)
  • More than one in every ten senior citizens in Georgia is living in poverty (10.8% ) (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Profile. 2010-2014 estimate.)
National Statistics
  • For the third consecutive year, USDA reported that 1 in every 6 Americans is food insecure - the number has remained at or near 50 million Americans for the past 4 years. The USDA defines food insecurity as the lack of access to adequate food resulting from the lack of money and other resources. (USDA, Household Food Security in the United States, 2011. Data released September, 2012.)
  • 46.5 million Americans (15%) were reported as living at or below the poverty level in 2012. (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S. - Data collected in 2012 and released September, 2013.)
  • 21.4% of U.S. children live in food insecure households. (Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap Study April, 2015 - data collected in 2013 – click the “child” button to see child insecurity rates.)
  • Nearly 21.4% of young children (ages 5 and under) in the U.S. are food insecure.  They lack enough food for a healthy, active life during a critical time for their brains and bodies to grow and develop. (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2010-2014 estimate)
  • The number of children living in poverty in the U.S. moved from 22% to 21.9% from 2010 to 2011 – that’s a total of more than 16.1 million kids and is statistically unchanged from last year's numbers. (U.S. Census Bureau – Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S. 2011. Data released in 2012.)
Food Bank Response
  • As the need has continued to grow, the Food Bank has been able to respond, thanks to an involved and caring community. The Food Bank distributed a total of 61.7 million pounds of food and grocery products in Fiscal Year 2014-15 (enough for 51 million meals), a 19.3% increase over the prior year.  (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2016.) 
  • The Food Bank increased its distribution of fresh produce by 13.2%  in FY 2014-15 (10.5 million pounds, up from 9.3 million last year).  For the second year running, fresh produce is now the Food Bank's largest category of food distributed. (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2016)
  • This year, the Food Bank is able to distribute more than $9 worth of grocery products back into the community for every $1.00 donated -- enough to provide four meals. (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2016.)
  • 95 cents of every dollar donated to the Food Bank (including the value of all donated food) goes directly to services in the community to help fight hunger. (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2016.)
  • The Food Bank is one of more than 200 food banks that are members of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2016.)
  • In fiscal year 2014-2015, 28,738 volunteers served over 102,000 hours in support of the Food Bank mission - the equivalent of hours served by 52 full-time staff members. (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2016.)