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%) struggle financially, living below the federal poverty line. This includes more than 1 in 7 kids (14.7%).
    (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey: Poverty, September 2016)
  • Nearly 1 in 6 Colorado kids (16%) may not always know when or where they will get their next meal.
    (Colorado Children’s Campaign, 2017 KIDS COUNT in Colorado!, April 2017)
  • More than 1 in 10 Colorado seniors (10.17%) 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 2015: An Annual Report, Prepared for the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, August 2017)
  • Of food stamp recipients in Colorado, almost 3 in 4 (74%) live with children, 1 in 4 (25%) live with an elderly or disabled resident, and almost half (48%) are members of working families. 
    (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Colorado Food Assistance Program fact sheet, March 2017) 
  • A Coloradan, on average, only receives about $1.42 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, March 2017) 
  • 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 12th in school breakfast participation for low-income studentsi and 44th in SNAP/food stamp access for those eligibleii.
    (i Food Research and Action Center, School Breakfast Scorecard for 2015-2016 School Year, February 2017; ii U.S. Department of Agriculture, Program Access Index 2015, February 2017)
  • While Coloradan participation has improved, statewide numbers still remain low in major nutrition assistance programs. For example, only 3 in 5 of those eligible for SNAP/food stamps (60%) participate in the program that helps struggling families and individuals purchase groceries.
    (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Program Access Index 2015, February 2017)

 

IN THE UNITED STATES…

 

  • More than 1 in 8 Americans live in poverty (12.7%), struggling to make ends meet. That’s more than 40.6 million people. 
    (U.S. Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015, September 2016)
  • Almost 1 in 7 Americans (12.9%) struggle with hunger, facing times when there is not enough money to buy food. That’s more than 41.2 million people.
    (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Household Food Security in the United States in 2016, September 2017)
  • More than 1 in 6 children (17.5%) don’t have consistent access to nutritious foodThat’s about 12.9 million kids under the age of 18.
    (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Household Food Security in the United States in 2016, September 2017)
  • 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 2016, September 2017)
  • It’s estimated that food stamps helped 4.7 million people get 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