The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Food Hardship Rates Decline Slightly in Philadelphia – But Not Fast Enough

February 28, 2013
Event Date: 
February 28, 2013

Question: Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?

In 2012, 18.2% of households answered YES to that question. 

As the Food Research and Action Center’s Food Hardship in America 2012 report shows, last year a staggering number of families struggled to buy enough food to feed themselves and their children.

Philadelphia’s first congressional district saw a decline in food hardship – from 26.5% in 2011 to 26.3% – but the district’s rank rose 7 places from 27th to 20th. This shows that while Philadelphia made an ever so small dent in food hardship in the first district – other districts throughout the country have done a better job at addressing hunger in their communities. 

FRAC finds that the reasons for continued high rates of food hardship is a mix of the effects of the recession and the failure of Congress to respond with initiatives to boost jobs, wages, and nutrition support programs. 

Overall in the metropolitan area of Philadelphia, which also includes Camden and Wilmington, food hardship decreased two tenths of a percentage point from 16.1% to 15.9%.  The city’s rank also moved in one year from 70th to 67th, showing again that other cities are making further strides in addressing hunger.  In Pennsylvania as a whole the food hardship rate increased from 15% in 2011 to 16.5% in 2012 and its ranking fell ten places from 42 to 32.

It is clear that we need to do more to address hunger in our congressional districts, cities, and states.  While a small decrease in food hardship is movement in the right direction, we need to do much better. Each household found to have food hardship is indicative of children who do not have the nutrients they need to grow and learn, parents who are struggling each day to put food on the table, and a nation of plenty that is failing those who do not have enough to eat.


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