Hunger is a real problem for Wisconsin families.
Statewide, over 573,800 people live in households that are food insecure – they do not always have enough food for an active, healthy life.
This represents 8.9% of Wisconsin households, or almost 1 in 11. (2008 statistics from UW-Extension report “Wisconsin Families and the Communities Where They Live and Work: Hunger Close to Home.”)
As a result, 69% of food pantries, 57% of soup kitchens and 64% of shelters are reporting increased food distribution.
37% of those people are children under the age of 18, and 7% are senior citizens, according to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
Among the key findings in the 2010 comprehensive research study “Hunger in America 2010” by feeding America Eastern Wisconsin and Feeding America:
Food insecurity happens at different level. Households with low food security have uncertain access to food. They may worry about having enough food. Or they need to juggle what little money they have to meet basic needs such as rent, medicine and food.
Households with very low food security have a more severe situation. Household members may reduce the amount of food they eat because they can’t afford what they need.
Wisconsin Households have become more food insecure, and the problem is growing! Wisconsin was 1 of 15 states to show a statistically significant increase in its food insecurity rate.
Check out UW-Extension Family Living web site at http://www.uwex.edu/ces/flp/demographics/ for more information.
Poverty is closely linked to hunger. The federal government uses income guidelines to determine the poverty level. For example, in 2008, a family of four with a yearly income of $21,200 or less was considered poor or living in poverty.
Nearly a third (31 percent) of poor households in Wisconsin are food insecure.
Many people with incomes above the federal poverty lines are still considered “low-income.” In 2008 a low-income family of four made less than $39,200.
Statewide in 2006, 24 percent of households were low income, yearly income below 185 percent of the federal poverty line.
Self-sufficiency standard (full-time hourly wage) estimates how much income a family would need to cover basic costs such as housing, food, child care, heath care, transportation and taxes without public or private assistance: Single working adult, one preschool-aged child: $14.03 an hour. Two working adults, one per-school-aged child, one school-aged child: $8.59 an hour per adult.
You can find detailed county data on the Wisconsin Food Security Project website: www.uwex.edu/ces/flp/cfs/.