The Facts: Hunger in Colorado

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Read facts about hunger and poverty in Colorado. Find out how we define terms like hunger and why nutrition programs matter.

 

HUNGER & POVERTY IN COLORADO…

 

  • Nearly 1 in 9 Coloradans (11.5%) live below the federal poverty line, including more than 1 in 7 kids (14.7%).
    (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey: Poverty, September 2016)
  • Nearly 1 in 5 Colorado kids (19%) may not always know when or where they will get their next meal.
    (Colorado Children’s Campaign, 2016 KIDS COUNT in Colorado!, March 2016)
  • More than 1 in 7 Colorado seniors (13.74%) struggle with having enough food, sometimes forced to make choices between purchasing groceries or needed medication.
    (James Ziliak and Craig Gunderson, The State of Senior Hunger in America 2014: An Annual Report, Prepared for the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, June 2016)
  • Among all Colorado children, those under the age of 6 are most likely to be in poverty. They also are the most at risk of living in homes without enough food.
    (Colorado Children’s Campaign, 2014 KIDS COUNT Colorado!, March 2014; Colorado Children’s Campaign, 2011 KIDS COUNT Colorado!, 2011)
  • Of food stamp recipients in Colorado, more than 3 in 4 (75%) live with children, nearly 1 in 4 (23%) live with an elderly or disabled resident, and almost half (46%) are members of working families. 
    (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Colorado Food Assistance Program fact sheet, February 2015) 
  • A Coloradan, on average, only receives about $1.39 per meal in food stamp benefits, making it a challenge to put healthy food on the table for themselves and their family.
    (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Colorado Food Assistance Program fact sheet, February 2015) 
  • About 255,000 Coloradans, including 130,000 children, used food stamps as an economic bridge out of poverty.
    (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of Supplemental Poverty Measure data from the U.S. Census based on five-year estimates from 2009 to 2013, November 2014)
  • Compared to other state participation rates, Colorado ranks 11th in school breakfast participation for low-income studentsi and 45th in SNAP/food stamp access for those eligibleii.
    (i Food Research and Action Center, School Breakfast Scorecard for 2014-2015 School Year, February 2016; ii U.S. Department of Agriculture, Program Access Index 2014, February 2016)
  • While Coloradan participation has improved, statewide numbers still remain low in major nutrition assistance programs. For example, only about 3 in 5 of those eligible for SNAP/food stamps (59%) participate in the program that helps struggling families and individuals purchase groceries.
    (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Program Access Index 2014, February 2016)

 

IN THE UNITED STATES…

 

  • More than 1 in 8 Americans live in poverty (13.5%), struggling to make ends meet. That’s more than 43.1 million people. 
    (U.S. Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015, September 2016)
  • More than 1 in 8 Americans (13.4%) struggle with hunger, facing times when there is not enough money to buy food. That’s more than 42.2 million people.
    (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Household Food Security in the United States in 2015, September 2016)
  • More than 1 in 6 children (17.9%) don’t have consistent access to nutritious foodThat’s about 13.1 million kids under the age of 18.
    (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Household Food Security in the United States in 2015, September 2016)
  • Food insecurity is strongly associated with income, with nearly 2 in 5 households (38.3%) that reported inconsistent access to food also had annual incomes below the federal poverty line.
    (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Household Food Security in the United States in 2015, September 2016)
  • It’s estimated that food stamps helped lift 4.7 million people above the federal poverty line in 2014.
    (U.S. Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014, September 2015)

 

 What Can You Do?

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Colorado Hunger & Poverty Facts