Food Security


  • 1 in 11 people struggle with hunger.
  • 1 in 9 children struggle with hunger.
  • People facing hunger in NJ are estimated to report needing $437,705,000 more per year to meet their food needs.
  • The average cost of a meal in New Jersey is $3.34.
  • Food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.
  • 37,227,000 people are food insecure in the US.
  • Children suffering from poor nutrition during the brain’s most formative years score much lower on tests of vocabulary, reading comprehension, arithmetic, and general knowledge.
  • 6.5 million children live in low-income neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket.


  • Newark is New Jersey’s largest city.
  • In 2016, Newark was home to more than 72,000 children. 18% live in extreme poverty, compared to 7% of NJ children overall.
  • More than half of the children receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Essex County were Newark children.


  • Nearly 25% of senior adults live in households with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level.
  • Reducing senior citizens’ risk of food insecurity or hunger benefits their health, nutrition, and general well-being and helps them remain independent.
  • In 2015, 5.4 million Americans over the age of 60 were food insecure. This represents 8% of all seniors in the United States.
  • At the current rate the number of senior citizens with food insecurity is projected to increase 50% by 2025.


  • 49.3% of renters spent more than 30% of their income on housing in 2014.
  • 26.4% spent more than half of their income on housing.
  • The National Center for Healthy Housing and APHA, in their joint 2014 National Healthy Housing Standard, set a guideline for what constitutes a healthy home: A dwelling that is clean, safe and sanitary; without hazards or pests; and with safety and security measures in place to maintain occupants’ well-being.
  • In a 2011 issue brief on healthy housing, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported an estimated 310,000 children ages 1 to 5 have elevated blood lead levels, which can lead to stunted growth, lower IQ, learning difficulties, anemia and other lifelong health issues.
  • The 2013 American Housing Survey, a report on housing quality and access, found that about 2 percent of housing units, nearly 2 million dwellings, had severe physical problems — with a lack of plumbing, running water or heat accounting for the majority of cases — from 2005 to 2009. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that while lead-based paint was banned in 1978, more than 24 million homes still have deteriorated lead paint in them. More than 4 million of those are young children’s homes.
  • The National Association of Realtors reported that in May, the average cost of a U.S. single-family home was $241,000, while the median family income was $68,759.
  • Even families and individuals who make a more comfortable living spend more than the 30 percent of their income on housing, a threshold that the U.S. Census Bureau suggests as a standard for housing affordability.
  • Redlining, the act of denying people of color access to certain neighborhoods or services, has been part of U.S. history since before the Jim Crow era. Its effects are still felt today — for example, in the segregated neighborhoods of many major U.S. cities — and its roots even lie in some former HUD policies, Payne said. In fact, redlining still happens today, though HUD is fighting the discrimination.
  • Between systemic prejudices and a history that keeps nipping at the heels of many low-income people and people of color, it can be difficult to move up into better housing, or even maintain the status of the housing a person or family currently lives in.
  • Without the stability of staying in a consistent home and neighborhood, children’s health and education suffers.