How Many Kids in the United States Live With Hunger?

According to new estimates, as many as 1 in 6 kids in the United States, or about 13 million, may face hunger this year. Many of these children will miss meals; still others will be faced with hunger-related hardship as parents and caretakers make tradeoffs between buying enough groceries or paying bills.

The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Before the pandemic, the number of children struggling with hunger had been steadily decreasing for a decade. According to the USDA, in 2019, just 10.7 million children lived in a family considered “food insecure,” a record low.

Then the pandemic hit. Almost overnight, millions of families were suddenly facing unemployment, hospital bills, evictions and hardship. And the number of children facing hunger skyrocketed.

No Kid Hungry and other organizations immediately went into action, fighting for policies to bring relief to families, including federal relief packages, a temporary increase to SNAP benefits and waivers that allowed schools and community organizations to adapt their programs. At the same time, No Kid Hungry invested $70 million into meals programs across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and DC to help organizations reach as many kids as possible with the food they needed.

Early 2020 projections from Feeding America estimated that under worst-case scenarios, as many as 17 million kids (1 in 4) might face hunger during the pandemic; new estimates show that it was 15 million kids (1 in 5).

How Can We Feed More Kids?

It’s time to double down on our efforts to feed children in the United States. Even though numbers are trending in the right direction, millions more kids face hunger today than before the pandemic hit, and hungry kids and their families will feel the impact of this crisis well into the future

We’ve learned a lot about how to combat child hunger during this pandemic. We're funding programs that work. We're advocating for policies that bring relief to children and their families. And we're building on the lessons we learned from feeding children during this pandemic to make No Kid Hungry a reality.