Why Are So Many Americans Going Hungry?

Monday, July 28, 2014

One-sixth of people in the United States are food insecure. Tracie McMillan looks at the face of hunger in this country and why millions of working Americans are struggling to feed their families. She’s written the article “The New Face of Hunger,” in the August issue of National Geographic. It's part of National Geographic’s eight-month series The Future of Food: How to Feed Our Growing Planet, on issues of food security and sustainability and an examination of why people in the richest country on Earth are malnourished.



Tracie McMillan

Comments [14]

Eugenia Renskoff from NYC

Hi, Hunger is a terrible thing, a bad thing. Soup kitchens aren't what they used to be. I love the soup kitchen that has helped me for several years now, andI know they do a great job, but the food has grown scarce. There used to be lots of sandwiches, salads, yogurt, pizza and other great stuff. These days bread most of what the soup kitchens give out. I am grateful to mine, but I think that with all the people out on the street, people with kids, elderly people, there ought to be more stuff available. Eugenia Renskoff

Jul. 29 2014 05:03 PM

Amy and Big Guy - yes I agree with you. Recently there was segment on hoarding and decluttering. What about the outrageous hoarding diseases of the wealthy? They are hoarding their money and getting praised for being so rich that they could never spend it al in multiple lifespans. They are the sickest hoarders of all and our government protects them. Why do we pick on the poor and not the rich? Because the poor are easy targets and most of us are cowards.

PS my biggest monthly expense is for my internet connection. It is one of my lifelines. I'd be very sad to lose it.

Jul. 28 2014 01:29 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Peg, exactly. It's amazing what doesn't occur to people when they don't need to think about it. And I'm glad you're able to have a good life on little money. I think that's less likely for people in urban areas, who also may not have the knowledge or the access to make better choices.

BigGuy, very good point, very well put.

Jul. 28 2014 12:54 PM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

@Jack Najalack from 10017

Not so fast, Jack. Go to youtube and check out the CBS specials on 'Hunger in America' from the 60s. The poorest have always been the most obese. Most of the cheap calories come from processed corn products. The cheapest processed foods make too many calories easily assimilable without the work needed to prepare or digest.

Add the advent of high fructose corn syrup - even more calories and an insult to the liver to boot! - and we are literally digging our graves with our teeth.

Jul. 28 2014 12:52 PM
Jack Najalack from 10017

Hunger advocates are facile in explaining why the poorest people are the most obese. Oh, I see now, it's about the minimum wage. So-called hunger in America has been redefined for the sake of unrelated agendas.

Jul. 28 2014 12:39 PM

@Amy - yes there'es plenty of perfectly good leftover "stuff" rejected by the prosperous when they need to declutter their lives. What's interesting is that they get so upset when they see "poor people" dressing well and having nice appliances and wonder why these "poor people" need food stamps.

Jul. 28 2014 12:36 PM
John Culpepper from Brooklyn

Life expectancy of uneducated white women in the United States fell FIVE YEARS between 1990 and 2008 (as a point of reference, during the transition from communism in the former USSR, the life expectancy of adult Russian men fell by an unheard of four years).

How can you eat well when you live in your car? Or when food stamps are your only income. Thanks Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Larry Summers. How long will it be before Is the fall in life expectancy spreads upward to other sectors of the population.

By the way, the same rural poverty amid farms growing cash crops was characteristic of Southern Italy for centuries. La miseria -- conditions there were called.

Jul. 28 2014 12:33 PM

My family lives on less than $1000 per month. We are hardly starving. We do not have a car and barter for rides to town. We live in a rural location and have a huge garden. We eat better than most rich people. We hunt, we forage for expensive mushrooms and fruit, we put foods by, we have a small chicken flock, we exchange our produce for organic home raised meat, we have extra to donate to our local food pantry, we teach people how to grow and forage for themselves. We have clean air and water. It's a good life.

Jul. 28 2014 12:32 PM
BigGuy from Forest Hills

We have far more to fear from the undeserving rich than from the
undeserving poor. We've given the undeserving rich more than $10
trillion since 2001 when W reduced federal income tax rates. What have
the undeserving rich done for our nation in return for having to pay
only 15% on capital gains, dividends, and interest instead of the
maximum ordinary income tax rate of 39%? NOTHING. We have given money
directly to rich people by by reducing their taxes, in ADVANCE.

Since 2001, the Undeserving Rich have spent more than $500 million since their tax rates were reduced from 39% to 15% to lobby Congress and the American people to reduce taxes upon money earned from money to ZERO.

The Undeserving Poor do not spend money on yachts, the Undeserving Rich certainly do.

Jul. 28 2014 12:31 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Maybe that TV--& a lot of their other stuff--is 2nd-hand.

Jul. 28 2014 12:29 PM
Alex from Brooklyn

After being denied unemployment and SNAP I began living off of cheap foods. It is amazing how living off of $10 a week can get you an abundance of unhealthy meals. Cookies $.99, Noodles $.99, so many fatty salty foods which is why poverty and obesity in America is prevalent.

Jul. 28 2014 12:28 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

As your guest just stated, most poor eat high carbohydrate junk foods which provide no nutrition but create obese diabetics. But you can buy a dozen eggs for $2.50. You can buy a pack of suger-free Kool Aid for $1.09 instead of a bottle of sugar water. One person can survive on $5 a day and still get relatively nutritious food if they try and are prepared to a minor amount of preparation.

Jul. 28 2014 12:19 PM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Since 2001, US GDP +50% ($5.5T), median income stuck at $51,000. Is there any surprise that there are more poor? Repeal the Bush Tax Cuts.

On a longer arc, 'inflation' has trailed GDP growth by 2%. That means more income in fewer pockets. That's positively un-American. Trickle down is a crock.

Jul. 28 2014 12:19 PM

Please put the "h" in wealthiest in the page headline. typo

Jul. 28 2014 09:11 AM

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