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3 Million New Yorkers Report Difficulty Affording Needed Food — Up from 2 Million in '03


An increasing number of middle-income New Yorkers join ranks of those struggling to put food on the table, according to new public opinion poll released today by Food Bank For New York City

New York, NY, June 5, 2007NYC Hunger Experience 2006 — Food Bank For New York City's annual hunger opinion poll that tracks trends in New Yorker's ability to afford needed food — reveals that more New Yorkers are experiencing difficulty affording food. Since 2003, the number of NYC residents who experienced difficulty affording needed food in the past year has steadily increased from approximately 2.0 million residents in 2003 to 2.5 million in 2004, 2.6 million in 2005, and finally to almost 3.0 million in 2006. Further, the number of residents who would not be able to afford food immediately after the loss of their household income has increased by 24 percent from approximately 1.3 million in 2003 to approximately 1.7 million in 2006. These were among the findings released today by the Food Bank during a press conference on the steps of City Hall.

An increasing number of middle-income New Yorkers joined the ranks of those struggling to put food on the table:

  • Residents with annual household incomes of less than $25,000 have the most difficulty affording food with 61 percent having difficulty in 2006 — an increase from 49 percent in 2003.
  • For households with annual incomes between $25,000 and $49,999 the percent with difficulty has risen from one-fifth (21 percent) in 2003 to 39 percent in 2006, an increase of 86 percent.
  • For households with incomes between $50,000 and $74,999, the percent experiencing difficulty doubled from 14 percent in 2003 to 28 percent in 2006.
  • In addition, the findings indicate thatmore New Yorkers lack savings to fall back on. Since 2003, the number of residents in the middle income categories that would not be able to afford food immediately after the loss of their household income has increased — from 16 percent in 2003 to more than one-quarter (26 percent) in 2006 among households with incomes between $25,000 and $49,999 and an increase from 10 percent in 2003 to 16 percent in 2006 among households with incomes between $50,000 and $74,999.

"In the wealthiest city in the world, no one should ever have to struggle to put food on the table for his or her family," said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "Through our Food Today, Healthy Tomorrow initiative, and working with Food Bank, the Council has been fighting to give more New Yorkers access to healthy, nutritious food. This study reminds us that the problem of hunger continues to grow, and that now more than ever we must work to enroll more eligible New Yorkers for food stamps."

"This study confirms that it is becoming increasingly hard for working New Yorkers to put food on the table for themselves and their families,: said Queens Councilman Eric Gioia. "Hunger is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. It is a more issue. We must get down to basics and make sure that in a prosperous city and country like ours, truly no man, woman or child among us goes without enough food to eat."

"It is shocking and unacceptable to find that so many of our fellow New Yorkers are struggling to afford our most basic human need — food," said Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City. "This report should be embraced as a call to action — we need to reverse this trend and use opportunities like the 2007 Farm Bill to bring resources into the city and work together to ensure that incomes keep pace with cost of living increases."


ADDITIONAL POLL HIGHLIGHTS

Age Category

  • The age category experiencing the most difficulty affording needed food is among residents 50 to 64. While in 2003, one-quarter (25 percent) of residents 50 to 64 experienced difficulty affording needed food, this figure increased to 42 percent in 2006.
  • The greatest increases in residents who would have difficulty affording food immediately after the loss of a household income are seen among residents 36 to 49 — from 16 percent in 2003 to more than one-quarter (26 percent) in 2006 — and among residents 50 to 64 — from 14 percent to more than one-fifth (22 percent).

Households with Children

  • In 2006, 44 percent of households with children experienced difficulty affording needed food, an increase from almost one-third (32 percent) in 2003.
  • Since 2003, the number of households with children that would be immediately unable to access needed food after the loss of household income increased from 20 percent to 27 percent in 2006.

Race/Ethnicity

  • Difficulty affording needed food in 2006 was highest among African-American residents with more than one-half (56 percent) not being able to afford needed food, an increase of 75 percent since 2003.
  • Among White residents, the number experiencing difficulty affording needed food has increased from 13 percent in 2003 to 22 percent in 2006.
  • Among Latino/Hispanic residents, the number experiencing difficulty affording needed food has remained practically the same between 2003 (47 percent) and 2006 (46 percent).

Education Level

  • While more than one-half (51 percent) of residents with a high school education or less experience difficulty affording needed food, the greatest change is seen among residents with some college or an associates degree, from slightly more than one-fifth (22 percent) in 2003 to 43 percent in 2006.
  • In 2006 one-quarter (25 percent) of residents with a high school degree or less and residents with some college or an associate degree would not be able to afford food immediately after the loss of a household income. This finding represents a change from previous years when the percentage of residents with a high school degree or less who would not be able to afford food was higher than all other education categories.

Gender

  • Findings show that in 2006 women continued to have more difficulty affording food than men, 40 percent in contrast to 32 percent respectively.
  • A higher percent of women than men report that they would not able to afford food immediately after the loss of a household income for all years since 2003. While ability to afford food immediately after the loss of a household income among men has remained about the same for all years since 2003 (15 percent in 2003, 13 percent in 2004, 17 percent in 2005 and 16 percent in 2006), women have experienced an increase from one-fifth (20 percent) to more than one-quarter (26 percent).

Borough Analysis

  • The Bronx and Brooklyn are the boroughs with the highest percentage of residents having difficulty affording food (42 percent among both boroughs).
  • In Brooklyn, the number experiencing difficulty affording needed food in 2006 increased by 75 percent since 2003, the highest increase among the boroughs.
  • More than one-third (35 percent) of Queens residents had difficulty affording food in 2006, an increase of more than one-half (52 percent) since 2003.
  • Nearly one-third (32 percent) of Manhattan residents had difficulty affording food in 2006, an increase of 45 percent since 2003.
  • More than one-fifth (22 percent) of Staten Island residents had difficulty affording food in 2006, an increase of 22 percent since 2003.

Food Bank For New York City, the city's primary supplier of food for those who would otherwise go hungry, helps provide more than a quarter million free meals served each day by more than 1,000 emergency and community food programs throughout the five boroughs. Those in need include women and children, the elderly, people with disabilities and the working poor. For every $1 donation, 97¢ goes toward food acquisition, distribution and programs. Recent honors include a consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator — the nation's largest charity evaluator. For more information, visit our website at www.foodbanknyc.org.

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