The Causes Of Senior Hunger In America

(The following excerpts are from the 2008 study)

Our research revealed seniors were more likely to be at risk of hunger if they were:

  • A young senior between the ages of 60 and 64
    For example, seniors age 80 and older were less likely to be food insecure compared to seniors aged 60-64. That is, an 84-year-old senior is over one-third less likely to be at-risk of hunger than a 64-year-old senior.
  • Living at or below the poverty line
    Households above 200 percent of the poverty line have nearly a 15 percentage point lower probability of being marginally food insecure than those living below the poverty line, a 6 percentage point lower probability of being food insecure, and a 2 percentage point lower probability of being very low food secure.
  • A high school dropout
    Holding income and other factors constant, a high school graduate is 20 percent less likely to be at risk of hunger compared to a high school dropout, and a college graduate is 40 percent less likely.
  • African-American or Hispanic
    Holding other factors constant, African-Americans are 75 percent more likely to be at risk of hunger than Caucasians. Hispanics are 20 percent more likely than Caucasians.
  • Divorced or separated, or living with a grandchild
    Marriage offered protection against food insecurity on a scale comparable to a high school diploma. That is, married couples were at about a 20 percent reduced probability of being at risk of hunger. Those seniors living with a grandchild, however, were about 50 percent more likely to be at risk of hunger compared to those with no grandchild.
  • Renters
    Homeowners have access to resources not similarly available to those seniors who rent, and thus homeowners faced about one-half the odds of being at-risk of hunger relative to the baseline.