Local and national studies demonstrate the need for food assistance. Research informs our response to food insecurity in our community.
Food Insecurity Among Adults with Disabilities
Living with a disability is one of the strongest factors that affects a household’s food security. Low-income adults with disabilities face many obstacles to adequate nutrition. In 2017, the Greater Chicago Food Depository released a report on food insecurity among adults with disabilities in Cook County.
A few of the key findings include:
- An estimated 31% of Chicago metropolitan area households that include a working-age adult with a disability are food insecure, compared with 8% for households where there is no working age member with a disability. Their food insecurity also tends to be more severe.
- Food insecurity among adults with disabilities occurs in every Cook County neighborhood. While areas on the West Side of Chicago exhibit the highest need for additional resources, there are high proportions of people with disabilities living in food insecure, low-income households throughout our community.
- Common barriers to adequate food access among this population include:
- Inadequate financial resources to cover full cost of living
- Lack of affordable and accessible transportation options
- Low awareness of existing food assistance programs
- Difficulty accessing food assistance programs
- Difficulty obtaining food appropriate for special diets
Several program, partnership and policy recommendations lead from these findings, each confronting this growing public health threat.
Map the Meal Gap
Feeding America, the national network of food banks, releases an annual study on local food insecurity. General food insecurity rates and child food insecurity rates at the county, congressional district, and state level are available through their interactive Map the Meal Gap tool.
Hunger in America 2014
The Food Depository partnered with Feeding America for the Hunger in America 2014 study, a comprehensive research effort about emergency food assistance. Hunger in America 2014 captured detailed information about who needs food assistance, what circumstances they face, and how the Food Depository responds to the need. Key findings from this report are listed below. View the full report.
The need in Cook County remains high
- Every year, 1 in 6 of our neighbors—or 812,100 people—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.
The faces of hunger
- 91 % of clients have a roof over their heads.
- 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.
- 35% of clients reported a household member with disabilities and 60% a household member with high blood pressure.
National results illustrate significant need
- 46 million people in the United States—1 in 7—receive emergency food assistance through Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks each year.
- 12 million children and 7 million older adults receive food assistance annually in the U.S.
- 20% of households served by Feeding America food banks nationwide have at least one member that has served in the military.