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Hunger and Malnutrition in the US

Updated: May 27, 2021

By Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director


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Did you know that:

  1. 20% of the population in Mississippi is “food insecure”? – the highest in the United States, followed by Arkansas (19%), Louisiana (18%), Alabama (19%), and Kentucky (17%)

  2. The poverty rate for children is 20%

  3. 19.4 million people in the US live in extreme poverty, which means that the annual income of a family of four, for example is $10,000 or less

  4. 1% of the children in the US “suffer from malnutrition” – chronic hunger and food insecurity/food imbalance resulting in serious vitamin and nutrient deficiencies leading to serious health problems ? (Johns Hopkins University )

According to World Hunger Facts, there are three main causes of hunger in the United States:

  1. Poverty in the world, which increases the demand for manufacturing jobs to shift overseas where lower wages are acceptable. This reduces employment in the US and increases the vulnerability of the poorest people in the US.

  2. The US political system, which tends to “keep people from poor families poor,” while the richest people own and operate businesses or head companies and are in a position to keep more profits for themselves and reduce the income that is paid to employees.

  3. The physical and behavioral issues of the poor, including typical segregation by income and race, a culture of single women raising children, and the lack of income resulting in living less healthy lives with less healthcare and a tendency to escape to drugs and alcohol.

Have you considered what you and your students can do to be part of the solution? See CEI’s Hunger- Food Insecurity program for 6th-8th grade students

Sources:              Hunger Notes

Proctor, B.D., J.L. Semega, & M.A. Kollar. (2016). Income and poverty in the United States: 2015. U.S. Census Bureau.


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