Facts about child hunger in America from Feeding America:
• More than 13 million children faced hunger in 2022. That’s 1 in 5 kids at risk for hunger.
• Black and Latino children are more likely to face hunger than white children because of systemic racial injustice. According to the USDA, in 2022, 29% of Black children were food insecure, and 26% of Latino children were food insecure.
• Single-parent families are more likely to face hunger because they need to stretch their income further. In 2022, 33% of households headed by single moms were food insecure.
Poverty is a root cause of child hunger. When a family lives on less than $2.15 per day — the economic definition of poverty — they are usually unable to meet their basic needs. They have difficult choices to make, like whether it’s more important to feed their children or keep a roof over their heads.
The data for the Philabundance service area, of which KACS is a member, unfortunately, follows the national trend that children and people of color experience food insecurity at a higher rate. Philadelphia saw a 30% increase in child food insecurity, while Delaware and Camden counties saw an increase of 25%. Across our area, Black and Hispanic people experienced food insecurity 3 to 5 times more than White people.
Food insecurity among children has been linked to poor academic performance. Students who face hunger daily are more likely to score lower on standardized tests, repeat a grade, get sick more often, and be suspended from school. 46% of students from low-income households say hunger impacts their performance in school and 3 out of 4 teachers recognize students who regularly come to school hungry. The long-term consequences of sending kids to class hungry are substantial. Children who experience food insecurity in kindergarten fall behind and tend to stay behind.