Facts About Hunger

Hunger and poverty in Alaska

Nearly 103,000 Alaskans – roughly 1 in 7 – struggle with hunger.
Map the Meal Gap 2015: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level.
Feeding America, 2016.

20% of Alaska kids live in homes that may not have enough food.
Map the Meal Gap 2014: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level.
Feeding America, 2016.

Roughly 1 in 10 Alaska seniors faces the threat of hunger.
The State of Senior Hunger in America 2014: An Annual Report.
National Foundation to End Hunger, 2016.

While there are more food insecure people living in urban Alaska, the prevalence of food insecurity is higher in rural Alaska. The areas with the highest rates of food insecurity are Kusilvak (formerly Wade Hampton) (26.7%),Yukon-Koyukuk (23.1%), Northwest Arctic (22.5%), Bethel (21.8%) and Nome (21.3%) .
Map the Meal Gap 2014: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level.
Feeding America, 2016.

About 82,000 Alaskans participate annually in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as Food Stamps).
Alaska Food Stamp Program Fact Sheet.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2017.

In Alaska, more than 74% of SNAP participants are families with children. 
Alaska Food Stamp Program Fact Sheet.  
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2017.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

Facts about who uses Food Bank of Alaska's partner network*

 

In any given week 6,300 Alaska households turn to Food Bank of Alaska’s network of food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, and other programs for food assistance. An estimated 51,900 unique households or almost 155,000 people are served annually.

The face of hunger is changing: 32% are children under 18, and 13% seniors aged 60 and older. Additionally, 23.3% of households include at least one veteran, and 2.6% are currently serving in the military.

Many hungry people are part of the “working poor:” 60% worked for pay in the last 12 months, and 43% worked for pay in the last four weeks. Those working often face underemployment and are more likely to be part-time. Of those not working, 21% are retired and 69% cannot work due to disability.

What was once emergency is now chronic: 66% of Alaskans using our partner food distribution network tell us that they expect to keep needing food help for the foreseeable future just so they can make ends meet every month.

Many clients are educated: 87% have a high school diploma or GED; 35% have education beyond high school. Additionally, 7% of households include an adult student.

Hunger impacts health: 26% of households report at least one member with diabetes, and 47% include someone with high blood pressure.

Rising costs in health care create hardship for hungry Alaskans: 34% have no health insurance of any kind, including Medicaid (survey conducted before ACA implementation), and 56% of households report having unpaid medical bills.

Hunger and poverty often go hand in hand: 53% of clients served have incomes that are at or below the federal poverty level ($15,510 or less for household of two).

Federal program participation: 45% of households participate in SNAP (Food Stamps), but 26% report that their benefits last only one week each month or less. 20% of clients not participating in SNAP cite believing they are not eligible as the reason.

Hungry Alaskans are faced with difficult choices: A majority of client households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care (56%), housing (53%), transportation (64%), and utilities (59%).

Families in need adopt coping strategies, such as eating food past expiration date (71%), purchasing processed, unhealthy, but cheap food (81%) or food in dented or damaged packages (57%), and receiving help from family or friends (54%).

Clients want these food items most: Protein food items like meat (54%), fresh fruits and vegetables (53%), and dairy products such as milk, cheese, or yogurt (29%).

*All data is from the Hunger in America – Alaska Report 2014, conducted by Food Bank of Alaska and the Alaska Food Coalition. The study is based on 77 visits to Food Bank of Alaska partner agencies from Wrangell to Barrow. For the 2014 study, 619 clients were sampled with a 56% response rate. Feeding America, Hunger in America 2014 – Report for Food Bank of Alaska, Inc. August 2014.