Hunger in America 2014: Cook County Profile
The Greater Chicago Food Depository participated in extensive research in 2012-2013 in conjunction with Feeding America for the quadrennial Hunger in America study, which captures detailed information about who is in need of emergency food assistance in Cook County, the circumstances those individuals face and the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s response. Locally, the data was collected by the Food Depository, member agencies, clients and volunteers at sites across Cook County. Below are key findings from the study.
The need in Cook County remains high
- Every year, 1 in 6 of our neighbors (812,100) receives food from one of the Food Depository’s member agency grocery or meal programs.
- The Food Depository serves more than 232,100 households annually.
- 68 % of programs reported an increase in volume of clients over the last 12 months.
- 69 % of client households have incomes that fall at or below the federal poverty level. 54 percent of client households have annual incomes of $10,000 or less.
Clients must make difficult choices
- 62 % of clients chose between paying for food and paying medical bills.
- 73 % of clients chose between paying for food and paying their utility bills.
- 59 % of clients chose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage.
- 67 % of clients chose between paying for food and paying for transportation.
- 38 % of clients chose between paying for food and paying for education.
Health and hunger often intersect
- 44 % of client survey respondents said they were in fair or poor health.
- 60 % of client households include someone who has high blood pressure.
- 58 % of client households include someone who has unpaid medical bills.
- 35 % of client households include someone with diabetes.
Veterans, children and older adults continue to be at risk of hunger
- 18 % of households receiving food assistance from the Food Depository network include at least one member who has served or who is currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- The Food Depository network serves nearly 165,000 children through grocery and meal programs, and this doesn’t even include the meals served through the Depository’s children’s’ programs, which have totaled over 2 million meals in each of the last three fiscal years.
- The Food Depository network of agencies serves over 125,000 adults aged 60 and over, representing more than 18 % of total clients served in grocery and meal programs.
The face of hunger
- 91 % of clients have a roof over their head.
- 57 % of client households include at least one person who has been employed in the last 12 months.
- 39 % of client households include at least one person who has been employed in the last four weeks.
- 25 % of clients have some college experience beyond a high school degree or two year college.
National results illustrate significant need
- Annually 46 million people in the United States – 1 in 7 – receives emergency food assistance through Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks.
- 12 million children and 7 million older adults receive food assistance annually in the U.S.
- Nationwide, 20 percent of households served by Feeding America food banks have at least one member that has served in the military.