The number of senior citizens facing food insecurity – the threat of hunger – has skyrocketed since the economic downturn of 2007-08 and affects 1 in 6 American seniors, according to 2014 figures reported this month by a pair of university professors.
The report, commissioned by the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, found that 15.8 percent of Americans ages 60 and older faced the threat of hunger in 2014, according to data from the U.S. Census Current Population Survey. That translates to 10.8 million seniors facing food insecurity – an increase of 600,000 seniors over 2013 figures.
Racial or ethnic minorities, residents of the South and Southwest, those with lower incomes, and younger seniors (ages 60-69) were most likely to be facing hunger, according to the report. However, the majority of seniors facing the threat of hunger were white and had incomes above the poverty line, the report said.
According to the report, an estimated 15.43 percent of Connecticut seniors ages 60 and faced the threat of hunger in 2014. Regionally, Massachusetts had the lowest rate of senior food insecurity, at 9.87 percent, while New York had the highest rate, at 19.28 percent.
The percentage of American seniors facing food insecurity increased 47 percent from 2001-2014, and a stunning 65 percent from the start of the Great Recession in 2007 to 2014, according to the report. That’s among a senior population that increased by 119 percent since 2001.
The report was written by James P. Ziliak, a professor at the University of Kentucky, and Craig Gundersen, a professor at the University of Illinois. It’s the latest in a series of studies by the two professors researching levels of food insecurity among senior citizens. The findings are calculated based on responses to the core food security module (CFSM) within the Current Population Survey.