California produces nearly half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, yet 1 in 5 Californians — that’s about 8 million — currently struggle with food insecurity. “Food insecurity” is the occasional or constant lack of access to the food one needs for a healthy, active life.
Food insecurity has serious impacts on an individual’s well-being, which may result in poor school attendance and performance, lowered workplace productivity, and decreased physical and mental health. Individuals experiencing food insecurity have to make tough decisions that no one should face. No family should have to decide between buying groceries or paying rent, no senior should have to choose between food and medicine, and no parent should have to skip a meal in order for their children to eat.
California Food Insecurity Rate: 20%
Data is from the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey, and compiled by Diane Schanzenbach and Natalie Tomeh from the Northwestern Institute for Policy Research.
Californians facing food insecurity: ~8 million
On average, 1 out of every 5 Californians does not know where their next meal will come from — but this number doesn’t tell the full story. Because of vast structural inequities, much greater levels of hunger are experienced by Black, Latinx, and Multiracial Californians, with white and Asian-identifying Californians experiencing food insecurity at rates lower than the general population. As shown below, Black Californians are more than twice as likely_to experience food insecurity than white Californians.
California food banks delivered more than 1 billion pounds of food in 2020 alone. See how we’re responding to California’s ongoing hunger crisis by checking out our recently published reports: