The Food Research and Action Center’s Food Hardship in America: Households with Children Especially Hard Hit report reveals that despite an improving economy, far too many New York State residents — especially children — still live in households that struggle against hunger. Derived from an analysis of Gallup-Healthways Well-Being surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015, the report finds 19.2 percent of households with children suffer from food hardship nationally. In New York State, that percentage is even higher: 21.4 percent; our state as ranked 17th worst among all states for food hardship.

New York State contains five of the nation’s 100 largest urban areas. The following shows the disparities in food hardship among them:

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City — 21.4% households with children; 14.5% households without children (Rank 33)
  • Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls — 20.1%  households with children; 12.2% households without children (Rank 44)
  • Syracuse — 19.4% households with children; 11.2% households without children  (Rank 52)
  • Rochester — 17%  households with children; 13.6% households without children (Rank 78)
  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy  — 12.2% households with children; 10.6% households without children (Rank 98)

Research shows that participation in federal nutrition programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; and meals provided during child care, school, afterschool, and summer, support children’s health and learning are practical solutions to hunger. Greater investments must be made to strengthen these programs and to improve access, benefits and eligibility.