More Than 860,000 Cook County Residents Are "Food Insecure"
By Anthony Todd in Food on Jun 10, 2013 6:30PM
Despite all you may have heard lately about the stabilization of the economy, there are still a lot of hungry people out there. Feeding America released a new study today that found that the number of food insecure individuals in Cook County has increased by at least 60,000.
Today's release is an update of Feeding America's "Map the Meal Gap" study, which documents food insecurity county-by-county across all of America. The numbers lag a bit behind (these new numbers are from 2011) but show an increase in the number of food insecure individuals from approximately 800,000 to 860,000 from 2010 to 2011. 262,000 of those individuals are children. That's 21% of the children in Cook County. There was a slight decrease in food insecurity between 2009 and 2010, but the 2011 figure is back up above 2009.
Feeding American defines "food insecure" by comparing the average cost of a meal and the reported income. If you're a statistics geek, you can check out the details. They've also got a nifty tool (if you can describe a map showing hunger statistics as nifty) that breaks down the numbers across the nation. This updated 2011 data will be incorporated into the map later today.
Even though the data lags a bit, there is no indication that hunger rates are decreasing. There have been more than 4.2 million visits to the Greater Chicago Food Depository's pantries, an increase over 2008 of more than 70%. They've never served as many people as they are serving right now - which is a testament to the effectiveness of the organization, but also quite a disturbing statistic.