One of the most common misconceptions is the assumption that if someone is hungry, that means they do not have a job and are living on the streets. What most people don’t understand is that anyone can experience hunger. It is a silent epidemic that affects more than 49 million Americans.
According to the US Census Bureau, in 2008, 19 million people lived in working-poor families. This translates into nearly 9 percent of all American families living below 100 percent of poverty have at least one family member working. i In fact, 36 percent of client households served by the Feeding America network have one or more adults working. ii
Working Poor Facts
* Female-headed households were more than twice as likely to be among the working poor than male-headed households in 2008. iii
* Married-couple families with children under 18 were almost 5 times as likely as families without children to be among the working poor in 2008. iii
* Among families with at least one member working at least half a year, families with children were 4 times more likely than families without children to live in poverty in 2008.iii
* According to a survey on hunger and homelessness conducted by the United States Conference of Mayors, 92% of cities participating in the survey cited unemployment as one of three major causes of hunger in their city. iv
Thirty-nine percent of all adult clients served by Feeding America have completed high school or equivalent degree with no further education beyond high school. ii
Thirty-four percent of all client households served by Feeding America have had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.ii
* Sixty-five percent of working families that received SNAP were single-parent families. v
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i U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2009 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (POV 10).
ii Rhoda Cohen, J., Mabli, F., Potter, Z., Zhao.Hunger In America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010.
iii U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A Profile of the Working Poor, 2007.
iv The U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008 Hunger and Homelessness Survey. December 2008.
v Urban Institute, Sheila R. Zedlewski, E. Mon. Many Low-income Working Families Turn To The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program For Help. August 2009.
vi Urban Institute, Gregory Acs, P. Loprest. Who Are Low-Income Working Families? September 2005.