Just the Facts
October 15, 2008 § Leave a comment
Texas has some of the highest rates of poverty and food insecurity in the nation – well above the national average. Texas ranks third in the percentage of food insecure families and fifth in the percentage of families with very low food insecurity. One in five Texas children lives in poverty. One-in-four Texas children lives in a household without enough food.
In 2006, CAFB, in association with Feeding America, surveyed more than 200 emergency feeding programs (food pantries and soup kitchens) in Central Texas in an effort to better understand the urgency of hunger and food insecurity in the Food Bank’s service area. This study is the largest, most comprehensive hunger study ever completed in the area. Our study revealed that hunger affects not just those technically defined as “poor” but also working families struggling to make ends meet.
While the child poverty rate in Texas is 23.2 percent, for the CAFB service area, 35 percent of the household members receiving food are children. Seventy-six percent of households report incomes below the federal poverty level. Eighty-two percent of recipients are food insecure. Forty-nine percent of recipients experience outright hunger (or high food insecurity).
A recent Texas Food Bank Network study revealed 31 percent of low-income Texans have difficulty feeding their families balanced meals. These families “cope” with skyrocketing food prices by sacrificing quality before quantity. While food prices have risen across the board, the report finds the price of healthy food is quickly rising. When healthy food costs more than ten times as much on a per-calorie basis, there is little choice for Texans with limited means. The report finds that households served by the Food Bank Network spent $466 less on healthy foods than the average Texas household in 2006.