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Hunger remains a persistent and prevalent reality for many New Yorkers.

Hunger is defined as an individual-level physiological condition that may result from food insecurity (USDA).

Food Insecurity is a household-level economic and social condition reflecting an inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life.

The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) annual report measures Household Food Security in the US and at the state level. The data reveal a decline in household food insecurity in 2018, with the rate dropping from 11.8 to 11.1 percent nationally. Yet this equates to more than 40 million Americans still living in households struggling with food insecurity. In New York, just over 1 in 10 New York households (10.5%) experience food insecurity, down from 10.9% in the previous report. Nationally and in New York State, food insecurity is more frequent in households with children.

The findings underscore the fact that hunger is still prevalent in communities across the state. These are children who go to bed hungry, senior citizens who have to decide between buying groceries and purchasing medication, and parents who do without so their children can have enough to eat.

Understanding the prevalence of food insecurity, and the extent to which federal nutrition programs are utilized to reduce food insecurity and avoid hunger, is critical to addressing the problem.

Food Insecurity and Federal Nutrition Program Participation

USA Map thumbnailA county-level reporting of participation in SNAP, WIC, Summer Food Service Program, and CACFP Afterschool Meals.

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NYS School Breakfast Program District Level Data

Free and reduced-price school breakfast eligibility, participation, and an analysis of the School Breakfast Gap. 2018-19 School Year.

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or 1 in 7 people relied on SNAP to put food on their tables. (2019)


of SNAP participants are families with children. (2018)


per person per meal is provided by SNAP benefits in NYS (2019)


For every meal provided by Feeding America food banks, SNAP provides 9.

Child Nutrition Programs in NY

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School Breakfast

564,133 students eat free or reduced-price breakfast through the School Breakfast Program

Yet that is only 50% of students who eat free or reduced-price lunch

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Summer Food Service Program

287,000+ children ate summer lunch through SFSP on an average day in July 2019

Yet only 1 in 4 low-income children ate summer meals in July 2019

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CACFP Afterschool Meals

Nearly 2,000 afterschool programs served healthy meals or snacks through CACFP in 2018

Yet fewer than 1 in 15 low-income students had access to complete afterschool meals.

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361,000 infants, children, and pregnant mothers receive WIC benefits

Yet only 56% of eligible women, infants and children (and only 48% of children age 1-4) participate in WIC.

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