Hunger in New Jersey
Nearly 1 in 4 food insecure households accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times during 2011, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service’s “Household Food Security Report, 2011.”
Over 1 million people were food insecure in New Jersey in 2010, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Study, 2011. Of those, almost half (45%) are not eligible for federal nutrition assistance. Nearly 1 in 5 children are food insecure.
Why is Hunger on the rise?
A survey of 29 major American cities (including Trenton, NJ) that comprise the taskforce on hunger and homelessness, found that 82% of those cities reported a rise in emergency food demand by an average of 22%. Nearly all of the cities (75%) expect demand for emergency food to continue to rise.
Unemployment led the list of causes of hunger, followed by poverty, low wages, and high housing costs. The “Hunger and Homelessness Survey” by the U.S. Conference of Mayors was conducted September 2011 through August 2012.
How Prevalent is Poverty in New Jersey?
The official federal poverty level for a family of four in 2012 is $23,050 a year, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Because of the high cost of living in New Jersey, nearly 1 in 4 of New Jersey residents – more than 2 million people – is considered poor (200% of the official poverty line), according to Poverty Benchmarks 2012: Assessing New Jersey’s Progress in Combating Poverty.
The unemployment rate in New Jersey was 8.5% in August 2013, making NJ in the top 10 among states across the U.S. with the highest unemployment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
According to Feeding America, the Food Insecurity rate (2011) was:
- Sussex County – 8.3% of the county population, or 12,380 people.
- Warren County – 9.7% of the county population, or 10,510 people.
In New Jersey a household must earn $25 dollars per hour to afford rent making it the 4th most expensive housing wage in the nation, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “Out of Reach 2012.