Nearly 12 percent of New Jersey residents were food insecure, meaning they did not have an adequate, consistent supply of food. That translates to more than 1 million hungry people.
Thirty-six percent of these residents earned too much to qualify for nutrition assistance.
It’s even worse for children. Seventeen percent of New Jersey children suffered from hunger, accounting for nearly 340,000 kids.
Of these children, 35 percent are not eligible for any food assistance.
From 2010 to 2015, the number of children eligible for free- or low-cost school meals rose an alarming 19 percent. In 2015, nearly 450,000 children lived in low-income households that qualify for school meals. (NJ Kids Count 2016)
In 2014, 11 percent of New Jersey’s nearly 9 million residents lived below the meager federal poverty line of $23,830 for a family of four. (U.S. Census Bureau)
When factoring in the real cost of living in New Jersey, an estimated 1 in 4 residents earn too little to meet their basic needs. (New Jersey Anti-Poverty Network).
Fifteen percent of senior citizens lived in poverty, under the Supplemental Poverty Measure. (U.S. Census Bureau)
While the number of people receiving NJ Snap (food stamps) grew 20 percent from 2011 to 2016, this trend appears to be reversing. From February 2015 to February 2016, enrollment declined 2 percent. This could mean that more people are being left without the nutritional assistance they need. (Food Research Action Center)
Despite this overall decline, more children are receiving NJ Snap, posting a 13 percent increase from 2011 to 2015 when more than 415,000 children received this critical nutritional benefit.
In 2012, 77 percent of eligible people received food stamps, up from just over half in 2008. Despite this progress, NJ ranked 39th in the nation for its participation rate. (NJ Kids Count 2016)
The average NJ Snap benefit was about $135 a month in 2013. (NJ Kids Count 2016)
A growing number of children are receiving school breakfast – up 75 percent from 2010 to 2015. Still, nearly 300,000 eligible kids are still not receiving breakfast. Visit njschoolbreakfast.org for more info. (New Jersey School Breakfast Report, 2015)
Just 19 percent of eligible children received summer meals in 2015. (Food for Thought: How to Expand Summer Meals, 2016) View report. http://acnj.org/downloads/2015_07_01_nj_summer_meals_report.pdf
Pregnant women and new moms receiving help from the Woman Infant Children’s Program (WIC) dropped 4 percent from 2011 to 2015, despite growing need. (NJ Kids Count 2016)