More Working New Yorkers Go Hungry: Study


Photo by Aoife City Womanchile via Flickr

About 1.3 million New Yorkers rely soup kitchens, food pantries, and other emergency food programs to get by, according to a report released Thursday by the Food Bank for New York City.

That’s 300,000 more New Yorkers who rely on food program to make ends meet than did in 2004, when the Food Bank first scientifically analyzed emergency food program trends.

The report found that one in four people who rely on food programs have some college education—an increase of 10 percent. In the 2004, 15 percent of the people seeking assistance from food programs, according to the Hunger Safety Net report.

More than one in five people who seeks emergency food assistance are working. More than half of those people work full time.

The report found that the city’s lack of affordable housing plays a significant roll in contributing to hunger in the city. The report found that:

  • 79 percent of household who rely on food programs rent their homes while 11 percent are homeless and 7 percent own their homes. (The report doesn’t mention the other 3 percent.)
  • 59 percent of the renter’s monthly income goes to their landlord, the report found.More highlights from the reports summary:


    New York City’s network of emergency food programs (EFPs) currently provide food to approximately 1.3 million residents annually, a 24 percent increase from approximately 1 million in 2004.

    Household Age Composition: Among EFP households, almost one out of every three (31 percent) members is a child under age 17 (a 20 percent increase since 2004), 57 percent are working-age adults (18 to 64) and 12 percent are elderly adults age 65 and older.

    Country of Birth and Citizenship: More than two-thirds (68 percent) of EFP participants were born in the United States and 84 percent are U.S. citizens.

    Language: English is the primary language in almost three-quarters (74 percent) of EFP households.

    Education: Approximately one-quarter (24 percent) of EFP participants have a college education (including some college, associate’s, bachelor’s and graduate degrees), up from 15 percent in 2004.

    Annual Income: The majority of EFP households (92 percent) have annual incomes below $25,000; 59 percent have incomes below $10,000 and 29 percent have incomes below $5,000.

    Employment: More than one out of every five (21 percent) EFP participants is employed and among them 57 percent work full-time — a 73 percent increase from 2004. Almost one-third (31 percent) of EFP participants are disabled, 19 percent are retired and 28 percent are unemployed/not working.

    Food Stamp Program (FSP): Almost one-half (46 percent) of EFP households receive food stamps, up from 31 percent in 2004. On average, EFP households receive $147 in food stamps per month ($37 per week). Almost one-quarter (24 percent) of EFP households run out of food stamp benefits in one week or less, 60 percent in two weeks and 84 percent run out in three weeks.

    Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC): More than one-half (54 percent) of EFP households with children under five receive WIC, up from 32 percent in 2004.

    School and Summer Meals Programs: More than three-quarters (79 percent) of EFP households with school age children participate in the National School Lunch Program while 59 percent and 39 percent participate in the School Breakfast Program and Summer Food Service Program respectively.

    Health Insurance: More than one-fifth (21 percent) of EFP participants do not have health insurance.
    Most EFP households with insurance have Medicaid (65 percent) and Medicare (25 percent).

    Health Conditions: EFP participant diagnoses include asthma (21 percent), diabetes (20 percent) and heart disease (10 percent). Diagnoses among EFP household members include asthma in almost one-fifth (19 percent) of children and diabetes in more than one-third (34 percent) of elderly adults.

    More than three-quarters (79 percent) of EFP households rent, 7 percent own and 11 percent are homeless. EFP households who rent their homes spend 59 percent of their total income on rent.