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New Report Details the Extent of Senior Hunger in the United States

A new report by the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, “The State of Senior Hunger in America 2011: An Annual
Report,” paints a troubling picture of food insecurity among older
Americans. Here’s the executive summary: In the report, we provide an overview
of the extent and distribution of food insecurity among senior Americans in
2011, along with trends over the past decade using national and state-level
data from the December Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS).
Based on the full set of 18 questions in the Core Food Security Module (CFSM),
the module used by the USDA to establish the official food insecurity rates of
households in the United States, our emphasis here is on quantifying the senior
population facing the threat of hunger (i.e. marginally food insecure). A
supplement to this report also presents evidence on seniors at risk of hunger
(i.e. food insecure) and on seniors facing hunger (i.e. very low food secure).

The Great Recession has caused extreme hardship on many families
in the United States, and senior Americans are no exception. Based on the
barometer of marginal food insecurity, this report card demonstrates that in
2011, this hardship continued:

15.2 percent of seniors,
or 8.8 million, face the threat of hunger. This is a statistically significant
increase from 14.3 percent since 2009, the end of the Great Recession.

Those living in states
in the South and Southwest, those who are racial or ethnic minorities, those
with lower incomes, and those who are younger (ages 60-69) are most likely to
be threatened by hunger.

Out of those seniors who
faced the threat of hunger, the majority had incomes above the poverty line and
are white.

From 2001 to 2011, the
number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 88 percent

From the onset of the
Great Recession in 2007 to 2011, the number of seniors experiencing the threat
of hunger has increased by 42 percent.

Increasing numbers of seniors in our country are going without
enough food due to economic constraints. This poses a significant public health
challenge, which in the absence of additional resources to feed seniors, will
lead to worsening health and higher spending on medical care. 

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