NYC Hunger Experience 2006 Summary
According to the Food Bank's NYC Hunger Experience 2006 report, since 2003 (the earliest year data is available) the number of city residents who experienced difficulty affording needed food increased steadily from approximately two million in 2003 to almost three million in 2006. That is an increase of 48 percent.
The data also shows an increasing number of middle-income New Yorkers joining the ranks of those struggling to put food on the table. Among residents with annual household incomes between $25,000 and $49,999, the figure rose from 21 percent in 2003 to 39 percent in 2006 — an increase of 86 percent. In addition, residents in the middle-income categories accounted for an increasingly larger share of the total number of New Yorkers experiencing difficulty affording food.
These findings suggest that the increased number of New Yorkers experiencing difficulty affording food was driven by larger numbers of middle-income residents having difficulty. These increases in difficulty affording food were not unexpected, given that the value of New York City's real median wage in 2006 remained below that of 2002 while the cost of food at home in the New York metropolitan area increased more than 10 percent from 2003 to 2006.
In keeping with the finding that more middle-income New Yorkers were having difficulty putting food on the table, the results also indicate fewer New Yorkers would have savings to fall back on if faced with the loss of household income. The number of residents who would not be able to afford food immediately after the loss of their household income increased since 2003 by 24 percent — from approximately 1.3 million to approximately 1.7 million people in 2006.
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