Hunger Among Us
To get started, try our 10-question "Brookings Hunger Quiz" to test your knowledge of hunger and poverty in and around Brookings.
Now click on a topic to learn more:
- Child Hunger in the United States
- Poverty and Hunger in South Dakota
- Poverty and Hunger in Brookings County
- Poverty and Hunger in the City of Brookings
How Food-Insecurity, Hunger and Malnutrition Affect Children
According to a study published in November, 2009, half of all American children will, before reaching age 20, live in families receiving food stamps. Since an estimated 33% of families who are eligible for food stamps never apply for them, the actual percentage of children living at risk of hunger in this country is even higher than 50%.
Click here to view statistics on the hunger of American children, provided by Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Click here to take a quick quiz on the more general topic of hunger in America.
To learn more about hunger in the U.S., visit the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate national hunger and also to address its root cause, poverty.
- 14.6% of individuals live at or below the poverty line.
- One out of every 8 individuals in South Dakota is food insecure. The percentage is significantly higher for children under the age of 18 – one in every 5 children is at risk of going hungry.
- Three counties in South Dakota are the poorest in the United States.
- A total of four South Dakota counties are in the top ten United States counties with the highest poverty rates.
South Dakota has 8 of the nation’s 30 poorest counties.
- Nearly 40% of the state’s school-aged children qualify for free and reduced meals.
- 19.2% of its citizens 50 and older live below the poverty line.
- A child is born into poverty in South Dakota every 3 hours (Children's Defense Fund).
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- Feeding America reports that in 2013 (the latest statistic) the food insecurity rate for children in Brookings County was 13.7. That percentage continues to grow each year.
- The likely income eligibility for Federal Nutrition Assistance in Brookings County shows that 52% of the population are eligible for SNAP, WIC and free school lunches and another 12% eligible for reduced lunches and WIC. These statistics are instrumental in determining the necessity if this program. Although our numbers remain fairly consistent, with the addition of the new school and an increase in enrollment in the coming years the need is expected to increase in the future. Our program has gone from distributing 80 bags during the school year each week to over 400 each week during the school week and over 100 in the summer months. Those numbers are definitive of the growth and continued need over the past 6 years.
- Head Start is a federal program providing comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school. A Head Start program for Brookings-area preschoolers is hosted by the First United Methodist Church in Brookings. Due to space limitations, only 40 children are currently allowed to enroll. The need is significantly greater.
- Lowered resistance to disease
- Higher frequency of headaches, colds, dizziness, stomachaches, ear infections and fatigue
- Inhibited physical growth and unwanted weight loss
- Poor brain development
- Greater susceptibility to obesity and its harmful health consequences
Psychosocial and Behavioral Consequences
- Higher levels of aggression, hyperactivity, anxiety and/or passivity
- Social problems, difficulties getting along with other children
- Emotional problems due to low self-esteem and stress
- Greater need for mental health services
- Impaired thinking and diminished learning capacity
- Lower test scores and poorer overall school achievement
- Increased school tardiness, absences and suspensions
- Tendency to have to repeat a grade
Evidence suggests that a child who experiences learning issues due to hunger and poverty is more likely to be poor as an adult. Back to top