Hunger in America

The recent statistics on food insecurity is appalling with about 40 million Americans facing food insecurity and with those living below poverty line being about 38 million this simply shows hat there are other factors beyond poverty that are causes of hunger these factors are the subject of this study and to kick it off here is an article I read that may help to explain some of these factors.

Before the start of this discussion I wish to highlight a story I read sometime back on a certain couple the husband had worked as an engineer for before age forty, in the course of his employment in a soft ware company he met a Kazakhstan woman via internet and she later migrated to USA where they got married.

The husband after a few years lost his job and a search for a job proved futile as he possessed outdated skills being a software engineer, the wife sustained their dietary needs but months later the wife to lost her job. (Valentine 2005).

The couple had to contend with need to pay for their rent, to meet their other necessary needs which included their need for food as per the time the article was published the wife was providing for the family but her benefits were dwindling with the need for her to upgrade her scholarly level by taking English courses with the hope of some day getting a job. This is just one case of the many that have aggregated hunger in America and besides the issue raised by the article that is unemployment, job loss, competing needs and education we are going to look at others that aggregate the problem. This maybe social factors such as marriage, family with single mothers or separation or divorces all these are other social factors that are aggregating hunger in America. Before discussion of these factors there is the major question why exactly is there hunger in America.

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Many researchers have attributed this to the many uncertainties that have become evident in the current times, these uncertainties are marked by such unforeseen circumstances such as illnesses, disasters, car breakdowns or even loss of jobs as highlighted earlier on. Therefore it is just fare to conclude that poverty may not be the only factor contributing to hunger because you can be living beyond the poverty line but occurrence of any of the above may put a strain in your expenditure and resources available may not be enough to meet the food needs for the individual or even the family.

Other problems that exist is accessibility to food which is mainly a question of distribution, sometimes people may have enough resources to cater for their food requirement but the places to get food are not around their locality or in case they are available they do not meet the required nutritional rations. Such is the case with the hardest hit areas such as Appalachia, U.S and Mexico border and the Mississippi border where the nearest well managed vegetable stores are about 30 to 40 miles away. In other areas such as Tunica where gambling is the main thing the foods are available but mostly you will find they have very poor dietary content with most of them having high concentrations of fats and for vegetables they are mostly wilted and very poor such are just some of the food problems that exist in the US.(Valentine 2005).

Discussion of major hunger causing factors


This is the status of being under no formal or informal job this has been a universal problem for as long industrialization has been existent this is mainly resultant due to the people’s reliance in industrial jobs as opposed to self employment which is through self generated ideas that one commercialises to earn a daily bread or support his daily activities.

Employment mainly determines the gross worth of an individual which is in turn determined by

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the level of skills possessed by an individual. People with high academic qualifications have a higher chance of employment though this is relative and is bound to have a higher income, for these individuals meeting the basic needs such as food is not really a big problem and this class of people may not be at a risk of hunger.

A problem comes in when an individual has a low paying job or in some cases the individual lacks this job for these people the amount they get in case of low income is not enough to meet the food expenditure and this is the class of people that is highly at risk of going without food.

Thus as far as employment is concerned the main group affected is the low income learners and the unemployed who in some cases lack the finances to spend on food which is basically one of the factors contributing to hunger. (Berkes 2005).

Job loss

This is closely related to unemployment but differs in status that is job loss is basically incapacitation of a previously able person able in the sense that this particular individual was in a position to provide for him as well as provide for the family but because of certain varying factors this individuals is rendered jobless. Prolonged joblessness is what is referred to as unemployment and thus has the same effects as stated earlier.


This is another factor related to the above two factors and it comes in as a primary determinant of the two prior factors, an individual with high education qualification is well positioned to have an employment opportunity and may have a slight lower chance of suffering a job loss as compared to a person with low education qualifications.

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By a look at the above factors you realize that the education level determines the kind of job an individual gets this in turn determines the employment income of that individual which puts him in a position where he is either able or unable to buy food. Thus lack of education is one other factor that is contributing to hunger in the nation.

Though it should be noted that it is not an extreme factor as not all uneducated or people with low academic qualifications suffer from hunger, in fact most of these people have found ways to make money and are actually better placed than most of the employed people.

Competing needs

These are needs that are arise or that exist within an individuals life and are dependent on the individuals income, thus if any exists a given expenditure point it eats onto the amounts allocated for the others. This factor may affect even people who have quite sound financial backgrounds for example a family may have several wants such as they need to keep their car running, they need to take their kids to school, they may also be enrolled in certain education programs etc if any of these factors exceeds the normal amount the n an individual is likely to cut on the food allocations to ensure that he reports to work, that is in case of the car breakdown, he pays the kids fees , as he would rather spend a few days with a ration cut other than the kid stay out of school.(Valentine 2005). Thus competing needs are another cause of hunger in the US though it may not be as marginal it is also a factor worth mentioning.

Social factors-Divorce, Separation

Separation and divorce has become a common thing in today’s society with the highest cases being reported in US. The common route of addressing these factors is through the courts, this

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guarantees that proper custody and equitable measures are taken to ensure that these individuals are properly catered for both economically and socially. This would mean that the kids of the marriage prior to divorce have their needs met however this is not always the case and most of these split families go for long spells with inadequate finances to cater for their food needs this usually contributes to most hunger cases especially where the parents are careless and do not really care about their children or past families.


Though this is not a major factor but with some areas it is, where people have to travel for long distances to get grocery stores or any kind of food joints this has two effects it puts a strain in the available resources and these individual have to cut their food allocations to meet the transport or accessibility expenses secondly it reduces the time required for production processes which are responsible for generating the income spent on food so at the long run these individuals have an economic struggle which may aggregate the problem of hunger.(Berkes 2005).


The responsibility to change this situation lies both with the government and the individuals, as well as the research bodies, thus the following highlighted changes are a collective responsibility and not particularly pointed to one of the mentioned parties.

– The government should ensure that there are enough jobs to cater for the citizenry, this way it will be easier to provide a means of livelihood for these individuals and any other people who may be dependent on them.

– Companies on the other hand or organizations should ensure they have flexible programs that allow people to raise their education levels or upgrade their skills this will help reduce cases of job losses.

– The government once again should help build or put up food facilities in marginalised areas also they should monitor supply of the food to these facilities to ensure constancy

– It should also be a collective responsibility for everyone to conserve the environment to help improve food production which has effect on the price of food making it affordable to most

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people thus reducing hunger cases. (Eisinger 1998).

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Berkes, H. (2005). A rural struggle to keep the family fed

ry.php?storyId=5018670. Retrieved on October 2, 2009.

Eisinger, P. (1998). Toward an end to hunger in America. Bookings Institution Press.

Valentine, V (2005). The cause of hunger in America,

php?storyId=5021812 . Retrieved on October 2, 2009.