Why Hunger?


just the text



Hunger in the U.S. and around the world is caused by various complex social and economic factors of which much ink has been spilled. We realize that one web page can hardly do justice to all the facts and thoughts on this matter. Our main goal with this page is to provide a brief overview of up to date hunger facts in an attempt to educate the public about the realities and the root causes of hunger and poverty.

We know that the world can produce enough food to feed every person on earth1 . So why is there still hunger and what can we do about it? The root causes of hunger are due to the systems, policies and institutions that benefit multinational corporations and wealthy nations, while leaving millions of people without access to food, land, water and sustainable livelihoods.
Our global food system is structured to value profits over people and planet.

In other words, hunger is caused by poverty and injustice.

hunger in the us


  • There are 815 million hungry people in the world—one in every nine people2.*
  • An estimated sixty percent of the world’s hungry are women or girls3.
  • Every year, 3.1 million children under five die due to malnutrition.


* This is the number reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Critics claim that the FAO data neglects larger issues of poverty, inequality and rising food prices. It is almost certain that the number of people facing hunger worldwide is even higher.


  • 41.2 million Americans are food insecure,* meaning they are often forced to skip meals, eat less at meals, buy cheap non-nutritious food and/or feed their children but not themselves.4
  • 12.9 million children in the US are food insecure.5
  • There are 15.6 million U.S. households suffering from food insecurity – 12.7 percent of all U.S households.6
  • 6.1 million U.S. households suffer from severe food insecurity, which means the people who live in them are often hungry.7
  • 3.1 million households with children are food insecure at some time each year.8
  • 42.3 million Americans currently rely on SNAP (Supplemental Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) to meet their food needs.9
  • 83% of SNAP households have incomes below the poverty line. Additionally, 82% of all SNAP benefits go to the most vulnerable households – those with children, elderly or disabled people.10
  • Among SNAP households with children, more than 60 percent of work while receiving SNAP, and almost 90 percent are employed the prior or subsequent year. SNAP helps Americans return to work, and increasingly, it helps those who already work, but do not receive a sufficient wage to feed themselves or their families.11
  • Many families suffering from hunger and poverty live in areas where fresh, unprocessed, healthy food is not available or is expensive, while the food they do have access to is nutritionally deficient.12

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