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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 physical and mental health problems. Individuals struggling with 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%
Californians facing food insecurity: ~8 million
On average, 1 out of every 5 Californians does not know where their next meal will come from — with greater levels of hunger experienced by Black and Latinx families.
Food insecurity rates by county: See here
This data is based off of the Census Surveys, and it’s important to note that Phase 1 is not comparable to Phase 2. Even though the questions related to food insufficiency are identical, the Census Bureau added more questions to the survey, which affected response rates, especially for Black and Latinx individuals. Due to data limitations, survey data may underestimate food insufficiency.
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.
Here’s the data.