In the report we provide an overview of the extent and distribution of food insecurity among senior Americans in 2011, along with trends over the past decade using national and state-level data from the December Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Based on the full set of 18 questions in the Core Food Security Module (CFSM), the module used by the USDA to establish the official food insecurity rates of households in the United States, our emphasis here is on quantifying the senior population facing the threat of hunger (i.e. marginally food insecure). A supplement to this report also presents evidence on seniors at risk of hunger (i.e. food insecure) and on seniors facing hunger (i.e. very low food secure).
The Great Recession has caused extreme hardship on many families in the United States, and senior Americans are no exception. Based on the barometer of marginal food insecurity, this report card demonstrates that in 2011 this hardship continues:
• 15.2% of seniors, or 8.8 million, face the threat of hunger. This is a statistically significant increase from 14.3% since 2009, the end of the Great Recession.
• Those living in states in the South and Southwest, those who are racial or ethnic minorities, those with lower incomes, and those who are younger (ages 60-69) are most likely to be threatened by hunger.
• Out of those seniors who faced the threat of hunger, the majority had incomes above the poverty line and are white.
• From 2001 to 2011, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 88%.
• From the onset of the Great Recession in 2007 to 2011 the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 42%.