While the Texas economy is booming, it is not without pitfalls. 1 in 7 of our fellow Texans — that’s over 4 million Texans — experience food insecurity. Children, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and working families are among those affected in every Texas county.
Hunger is primarily a symptom of economic insecurity. A household income that can’t keep pace with the cost of living combined with unexpected expenses like a car accident or medical emergency can force families to make impossible choices between food and other basic needs.
Our most vulnerable populations, like children and seniors, bear some of the greatest consequences.
20% of Texas children experience hunger.
20%, or 1 in 4 Texas children experiences hunger. Hunger deprives kids of more than just food. According to Feeding America, kids who don’t get enough to eat — especially during their first three years — begin life at a serious disadvantage. When they’re hungry, children are more likely to be hospitalized, and they face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma. As they grow up, kids struggling to eat are more likely to have problems in school and other social situations.
11% of households with seniors in Texas face food insecurity.
After a lifetime of hard work, many seniors find themselves facing an impossible choice — to buy groceries or afford medical care. And as the baby-boom generation ages and their health costs increase, the number of seniors facing hunger is only expected to grow.
If we can prevent hunger among these populations, we can reduce some of the greatest challenges facing our state.
African American Texans
Hunger hits African American communities harder.
African American households face hunger at a rate more than twice that of white, non-Hispanic households. And getting enough to eat is a consistent struggle for 1 in 4 African American children.
Unemployment and poverty disproportionately affect Black Texans — making combating hunger even harder
African American households have significantly lower household incomes than white, non-Hispanic households. African Americans are also more than twice as likely to face hunger.
- Eight of the 10 counties with the highest food insecurity rates in the nation are at least 60% African American.
- Poverty rates for African Americans are more than twice that of white, non-Hispanic individuals.
- 9% of African Americans live in deep poverty (less than 50% of the federal poverty threshold).
Texas Latinx communities face hunger at a much higher rate.
Latinx families face hunger at staggering rates in America.
One in six Latinx households in the United States struggles with hunger. For Latinx children, the disparity is even more severe. More than 18% of Latinx children are at risk of hunger, compared to nearly 12% of White, non-Hispanic children.
Higher poverty and lower incomes in rural areas can cause greater reliance on services.
Rural families often face higher rates of hunger because of the unique challenges of living remotely. These challenges include poor geographic access to healthy food, limited or unreliable job opportunities, and high rates of un- and under-employment. Addressing hunger in rural areas is a unique challenge.