Childhood Poverty Can Be Stopped With Your Help

Between 13.4 and 16.5 million in the U.S.

Determining the exact number of children living in poverty can depend on what Census calculation you go by. More than 16 million children, or roughly one in five, were living in poverty in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s official poverty measure (pdf). That is higher than any other age group. Among 18- to 64-year-olds, the poverty rate was 13.7 percent, while among seniors the rate was 8.7 percent.

15.3 million: The number of children in America who live in “food insecure” homes, or 20.9%.[USDA]

23.6%: Percent of kids struggling with hunger who live in rural America vs. inside metropolitan areas (18.4%.)[USDA]

22%: Percent of households in Mississippi that are food insecure, giving it the highest rate in the nation. Mississippi is followed by Arkansas (19.9%), Louisiana (17.6%), Kentucky (17.5%) and Texas (17.2%).[USDA]

Did You Know 1 in 5 Texas Households Struggle with Food Insecurity?

Texas Statistics – 2014

Nearly one in four Texas children do not have access to adequate nutritious meals on a regular basis. In fact, the latest USDA report found that 18 percent of Texas households (one in six) experienced food insecurity between 2011 and 2013.

“A total of 1.7 million Texas households were food insecure—more than any other state, except for California.”

  • Food Insecurity: An estimated 84 percent of households are food insecure, and 16 percent are food secure.
  • Income and Poverty: An estimated 10 percent of client households have no income, 46 percent have annual incomes of $1 to $10,000, and 30 percent have annual incomes of $10,001 to $20,000. Taking into consideration household size, 75 percent of client households have incomes that fall at or below the federal poverty level.
  • Health: An estimated 38 percent of households report at least one member with diabetes; 61 percent of households report at least one member with high blood pressure. Additionally, 36 percent of client households have no members with health insurance of any kind, and 71 percent of households chose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care at least once in the past 12 months.
  • Coping Strategies and Spending Trade-offs: An estimated 71 percent of households reported that they had to choose between paying for food and utilities in the past 12 months, and 68 percent of households chose between paying for food and transportation in the past 12 months. An estimated 69 percent of households reported using multiple strategies for getting enough food in the past 12 months, including eating food past its expiration date, growing food in a garden, pawning or selling personal property, and watering down food or drinks.
  • Housing: An estimated 95 percent of households reside in non-temporary housing, such as a house or apartment, and 5 percent of households reside in temporary housing, such as a shelter or mission, a motel or hotel, or on the street. An estimated 58 percent of households chose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage at least once in the past 12 months, and 12 percent of respondents have experienced a foreclosure or eviction in the past five years.
  • Employment: An estimated 54 percent of households have a household member who had worked for pay in the last 12 months; in 65 percent of client households the most-employed person from the past 12 months is currently out of work.

No one chooses to be hungry. Hunger can happen for several reasons, including:

  • A family health crisis not covered by health insurance — Sixty-seven percent of households reported choosing between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care at least once in the past 12 months; 30 percent face this choice every month.
  • Rising costs of living and housing, especially for those who are disabled or on a fixed income — Sixty-two percent of households reported choosing between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage at least once in the past 12 months; 30 percent face this choice every month.
  • Seniors unexpectedly raising grandchildren — Twenty percent of households are headed by grandparents who have taken on the unexpected responsibility of raising their grandchildren.
  • Untimely death of a family’s primary income-earner
  • A single parent raising their children after a broken marriage

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