Hunger in America

September 30, 1983

Report Outline
Evidence of Growing Problem
Questioning Extent of Problem
Attacking Hunger Problems
Special Focus

Evidence of Growing Problem

Increase in Demand for Food Assistance

In our affluent society, there are always millions of people unable to feed, clothe or house themselves adequately. During hard economic times — such as the recession and period of high unemployment that started in 1981 — the problems of the poor are compounded. And now, with the approach of winter, conditions of life for Americans living below the poverty line will become even harsher.

The main problem today for the nation's poor appears to be hunger. In the last year evidence has accumulated from a variety of sources, including church groups, charitable organizations, city and county officials, congressional investigators and the media, that hunger is a significant and growing problem in the United States. Reagan administration officials and others say that reports of hunger in America are exaggerated, arguing that all the people crowding into food kitchens may not be destitute, but may simply want to take advantage of free meals. Others are convinced, however, that the problem is real.

“However we define it, there are apparently growing numbers of people in the United States who are experiencing both hunger and malnutrition over the last two years,” said J. Larry Brown, professor of health policy at Harvard University's School of Public Health. Said Robert Greenstein, director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C., non-profit research and analysis organization: “My sense is very much that hunger is a major problem and it has been growing over the last couple of years. With the combination of the recession and budget cuts, the problem has definitely grown.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Poverty and Homelessness
Jan. 11, 2019  Domestic Poverty
Aug. 04, 2017  Poverty and Homelessness
Jul. 17, 2015  Fighting Urban Poverty
Oct. 10, 2014  Housing the Homeless
Oct. 28, 2011  Child Poverty
Sep. 07, 2007  Domestic Poverty Updated
Jun. 18, 2004  Ending Homelessness
Dec. 22, 2000  Hunger in America
Apr. 07, 2000  Child Poverty
Jan. 26, 1996  Helping the Homeless
Aug. 07, 1992  The Homeless
Mar. 30, 1990  Why Homeless Need More Than Shelter
Sep. 30, 1983  Hunger in America
Oct. 29, 1982  The Homeless: Growing National Problem
Jan. 25, 1967  Status of War on Poverty
Feb. 05, 1964  Persistence of Poverty
Jun. 06, 1956  Pockets of Poverty
Welfare and Welfare Reform