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 (ACFB), 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. ACFB 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 ACFB, and that those clients turn to ACFB partner programs and pantries for help more than 6.1 million times over the course of the year. This means clients are visiting ACFB network programs an average of 8 times a year.

The new study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by ACFB – 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 ACFB executive summary.

Download the national full report.

Download the national executive summary.

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
  • 27.2 percent of Georgia’s children live in poverty – up from 26.3 % last year. The new number moves Georgia to the 6th highest childhood poverty rate in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Profile. Data released Sept. 2013)
  • 19.2 percent of Georgians are living in poverty – just slightly up from 19.1 percent reported in 2012. Poverty in Georgia increased from 12.9% in 2000 to 19.2% in 2012 – an increase of almost 1 million Georgians over the past 12 years. (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Profile. Data released Sept. 2013)
  • From 2000 to 2010, the number of poor individuals in the Atlanta metro suburbs more than doubled, growing by 122%. (U.S. Census, 2013. cited)
  • More than one in every ten senior citizens in Georgia is living in poverty (11.2% ) – This new number reflects a slight increase from 10.9% last  year. (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Profile.  Data released Sept. 2013)
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.)
  • 22.4% of U.S. children live in food insecure households. (Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2013. Data released June, 2013.)
  • Nearly 4 million 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. (Feeding America, Child Food Insecurity in the U.S. 2006-2008, and John Cook, Ph.D., Boston Medical Center and Boston university School of Medicine. 2010.)
  • 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.)
ACFB Response
  • As the need has continued to grow, ACFB has been able to respond, thanks to an involved and caring community. ACFB distributed an overall total of more than 51 million pounds of food and grocery products in Fiscal Year 2013-14 compared to nearly 45 million pounds in the prior year. (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2014.)
  • This year, ACFB is able to distribute $9.21 worth of grocery products back into the community for every $1.00 donated -- enough to provide four meals. (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2014.)
  • 95 cents of every dollar donated to ACFB (including the value of all donated food) goes directly to services in the community to help fight hunger. (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2014.)
  • ACFB 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. 2014.)
  • In fiscal year 2012-2013, volunteers served 106,418 hours in support of the ACFB mission - the equivalent of hours served by 52 full time staff members. (Atlanta Community Food Bank. 2014.)
  • 58,900 different people are now receiving emergency food each week through a network of more than 600 nonprofit partner agencies served by ACFB – a 39% increase over the last four years. (*Feeding America “Hunger in America 2010” Study.)
  • 72% of client households served by ACFB partner agencies are food insecure – meaning they do not always know where they will find their next meal. 39% of these food insecure households experience very low food security – meaning they are sometimes completely without a source of food. (*Feeding America “Hunger in America 2010” Study.)
  • 39% of client households served by ACFB partner agencies reported having to choose between paying their rent or mortgage and food, and 32% reported having to choose between paying for medicine or medical care and food. (*Feeding America “Hunger in America 2010” Study.)
  • ACFB is a critical food resource for its partner agencies. We provided 72% of the food distributed by partner food pantries, 47% of the food served at partner soup kitchens and 31% of the food served at partner shelters in 2009. (*Feeding America “Hunger in America 2010” Study.)

*Note:  ACFB is one of 185 Feeding America member food banks that participated in the Hunger in America 2010 study. Data was collected from 400 face-to-face interviews with people seeking emergency food assistance and 376 partner agency surveys. To get more details on the Hunger in America Study, visit their website. Feeding America has recently finished gathering data for a new Hunger in America study.  The release of Hunger in America 2014 is anticipated in summer of 2014.