Child Hunger

Child Hunger Issues, Impact, Solutions

The Issue:

Nearly 16 million children (or 1 in 5 kids) live in a “food-insecure” household.  This means they lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis and struggle with hunger at some time during the year as a result.

Why It Matters:


  • Inadequate access to food during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk for low birth weight in babies. Children who struggle with hunger are likely to be sick more often, to recover from illness more slowly, and to be hospitalized more frequently. [1]

  • Children who struggle with hunger are more susceptible to obesity and its harmful health consequences. [2]

Education & Learning

  • Food insecurity has been linked with delayed development, poorer attachment, and learning difficulties in the first two years of a child’s life.[3]

  • Food insecure children may be at greater risk of truancy and school tardiness. [4]

  • On average, students who eat school breakfast have been shown to attend 1.5 more days of school per year, and achieve 17.5% higher scores on standardized math tests. [5]

Economic Impact

  • Students who attend class more regularly are 20% more likely to graduate from high school, and high school graduates typically earn $10,090 more per year and enjoy a 4% higher employment rate. [5]

  • The Center for American Progress’ Hunger in America report calculated that “the impact of being held back a grade or more in school resulting from hunger and its threat resulted in $6.9 billion in lost income for 2009 dropouts in 2010 and that high school absenteeism led to a loss of $5.8 billion, also in 2010. In total, food insecurity led to a loss of $19.2 billion in [life-time] earnings in 2010.” [6]

  • Hunger costs our nation at least $167.5 billion due to the combination of lost economic productivity per year, more expensive public education because of the rising costs of poor education outcomes, avoidable health care costs, and the cost of charity to keep families fed.[5]

Be Part of the Solution:

Solving child hunger will require cross-sector collaboration. If individual donors, businesses, and the government work together to provide necessary support, there’s no reason any child should go to bed hungry and suffer the health, education, and economic consequences listed above.  America’s Charities members are committed to addressing child hunger, and by supporting these organizations, you can help kids live healthier, happier, and more successful lives. 

Workplace Giving:

Empower employees to donate via payroll deduction to charities addressing child hunger. Learn more.

Corporate Philanthropy & Cause Marketing:

Align your company’s philanthropy efforts with a cause like child hunger. See how America’s Charities can help you.

Donate Online:

Use America’s Charities website to learn about, connect with, and give to charities addressing child hunger. Give now.


[1] Children’s Health Watch

[2] National Institutes of Health

[3] Journal of Nutrition: Child food insecurity increases risks posed by household food insecurity to young children’s health

[4] Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Relationship Between Hunger and Psychosocial Functioning in Low-Income American Children

[5] Ending Childhood Hunger: A Social Impact Analsysis by Deloitte and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices

[6] Center for American Progress, Hunger in America Report