Bottom line: It costs our nation more to ignore hunger than it does to eliminate it.
The national cost of hunger: According to a report by the Center for American Progress and Brandeis University, “hunger costs our nation at least $167.5 billion due to the combination of lost economic productivity per year, more expensive public education because of the rising costs of poor education outcomes, avoidable health care costs, and the cost of charity to keep families fed.”
[Center for American Progress, Hunger in America]
The Center for American Progress’ Hunger in America report calculated that “the impact of being held back a grade or more in school resulting from hunger and its threat resulted in $6.9 billion in lost income for 2009 dropouts in 2010 and that high school absenteeism led to a loss of $5.8 billion, also in 2010. In total, food insecurity led to a loss of $19.2 billion in [life-time] earnings in 2010.”
In 2010, “it cost every citizen $542 due to the far-reaching consequences of hunger in our nation.” If the number of hungry Americans remains constant, “each individual’s bill for hunger in our nation will amount to about $42,400” on a lifetime basis.
According to the Center for American Progress, the annual cost of hunger or its threat (i.e. “food insecurity) includes: