African-Americans are disproportionately affected by poverty, food insecurity, and unemployment. They are also more likely to receive emergency food assistance than their Latino and white, non-Hispanic peers.
The Map the Meal Gap analysis demonstrated that unemployment is a major contributing factor to food insecurity. Unemployment is significantly higher among African Americans than among white, non-Hispanics.
- In 2011, African-Americans were approximately twice as likely to be unemployed (16%) as their white, non-Hispanic counterparts (8%). [i]
African American households are more than twice as likely to be food insecure as white, non-Hispanic households. Counties with majority African American populations are disproportionately represented among the top 10% of counties with the highest rates of food insecurity.
- 1 in 4 (25.1%) African American households are food insecure as compared with 1 in 10 (11.4%) of Caucasian households and 1 in 7 (14.9%) households overall.[ii]
- Nearly 1 in 3 African American children (32.0%) live in food insecure households as compared 1 in 6 (16.0%) Caucasian children.[iii]
- Of the 93 counties in 2009 with a majority African American population, over 80% fall into the top 10% of counties with the highest rates of food insecurity.[iv]
- 16 out of the 76 majority African American counties with the highest rates of food insecurity also fall into the top 10% of counties with the highest food cost index; the average cost per meal in these counties is $3.00, as compared with the national average of $2.54.[v]
Emergency Food Assistance
African American households are disproportionately represented within the emergency food assistance client population. African American children are nearly three times as likely to receive emergency food assistance as their Caucasian peers.
- More than 1 in 3 (38%) African American children in the U.S. live in families served by the Feeding America network, as compared with nearly 1 in 9 (11%) white, non-Hispanic children.
African American households experience disproportionate levels of poverty and have lower household income than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts.
- Median income for African American households ($32,229) is significantly lower than their Caucasian counterparts ($55,412).[vi]
- Poverty rates for African Americans (27.6%) were nearly triple that of non-Hispanic whites (9.8%).[vii]
African American households are less likely to receive SNAP benefits than white, non-Hispanic households even though they are more likely to be food insecure.
- Only 22% of SNAP participant households are African American, as compared with more than white, non-Hispanic households which make up 35.7% of SNAP recipients[viii], even though African American households are more than twice as likely (25.1%) to be food insecure than Caucasian households (11.4%).[ix]
- 26% of African American families served by Feeding America reported no contact with SNAP whatsoever, as compared with 15% of white, non-Hispanic families.[x]
- 56% of African American families served by Feeding America participate in SNAP, as compared with 61% of white, non-Hispanic families.[xi]
[i] CPS Table 3. (2012). Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population by sex, age, and race. Household data annual averages. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
[ii] Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., Andrews, M., & Carlson, S. (2012). Food Security in the United States in 2011. USDA ERS.
[vi] DeNavas-Walt, C., Proctor, B.D., & Smith, J.C. (2012). Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011. U.S. Census Bureau.
[viii] Table A-23. Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2010. (2011). USDA FNS.
[ix] Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., Andrews, M., & Carlson, S. (2012). Food Security in the United States in 2011. USDA ERS.
[x] Mabli, J., Cohen, R., Potter, F., Zhao, Z. (2010). Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America.