Food Bank Study 2014: 9.7% Kane County Residents At Risk of Hunger

Food Bank Study 2014: 9.7% Kane County Residents At Risk of Hunger

  • Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a series on hunger in Kane County, following a presentation by the Northern Illinois Food Bank to the Kane County Committee of the Whole.


A new study by Northern Illinois Food Bank and Feeding America shows that nearly 600,000 people in northern Illinois turn to food pantries and meal programs to feed themselves and their families.

The same study shows that 50,050 Kane County residents — 9.7 percent of the population — are at risk of hunger.

The Hunger in America 2014 study is Feeding America’s sixth extensive study of hunger. As a member of the Feeding America network, Northern Illinois Food Bank participates in this study to better understand the needs of our hungry neighbors.

Completed every four years, the study surveys the food pantries and feeding programs in the Northern Illinois Food Bank network and the people who seek food assistance from them.

According to the Hunger in America 2014 local findings, Northern Illinois Food Bank serves nearly 600,000 people each year and more than 71,000 people each week. These hungry neighbors use our food pantries and feeding programs on average eight times per year.

The study provides insightful demographic data, offering a snapshot of who Northern Illinois Food Bank serves:

  • Children under age 18 make up 36 percent of our hungry neighbors, while seniors age 60 and older make up nine percent.
  • Among all hungry neighbors, 40 percent identify as white, 33 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino and 17 percent identify as black or African American.
  • 66 percent of households that use the Food Bank’s services have incomes that fall at or below the federal poverty level.
  • 78 percent of people who use the Food Bank’s services have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, and 30 percent have completed some college, earned a business, trade or technical degree or completed a four-year college degree or higher level of education.

The study shows that clients are making tough choices. Based on the report, 77 percent of households the Food Bank serves had to choose between paying for food and utilities in the past 12 months, and 62 percent had to choose between food and paying for medicine/medical care in the past 12 months.

The report indicates that hungry neighbors are struggling with health issues: 53 percent of households report at least one member with high blood pressure, while 26 percent of households have at least one member with diabetes.

Kane County Statistics

  • A family of four with a household income of more than $41,000 would be ineligible for any public

Poverty – U.S. Census Bureau

  • 61,375 or 11.9% of residents are living in poverty
  • 25,700 or 17.7% of children are living in poverty

Unemployment (July 2014) – Illinois Department of Employment Security

  • 17,429 or 6.2% residents are currently unemployed

SNAP January Participation – (Individuals) – Illinois Department of Human Services

  • 2011: 59,063
  • 2012: 64,166
  • 2013: 76,820
  • 2014: 84,711

Food Insecurity – USDA and Feeding America

  • 50,050 or 9.7% of residents are at risk of hunger.
    • Nearly 15,516 are ineligible for public benefits
  • 29,830 or 20.1% of children are at risk of hunger
    • Nearly 9,247 of these children are not eligible for free/reduced price lunch because their
      family income is too high.

Free/Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility – Illinois State Board of Education

  • 56,817 are eligible to receive free or reduced price lunch with the National School Lunch Program

Self-Sufficiency Standard – Heartland Alliance Social Impact Research Center

  • As of 2009, an adult with one preschooler and one school-age child needs to earn $27.14 per
    hour to make ends meet. Out of the 108 places in the state for which the Standard is calculated,
    only three have a higher Self-Sufficiency Wage.

Housing – National Low Income Housing Coalition

  • Fair Market Rent (FMR) on a two bedroom apartment in Kane County: $958
  • The average renter in Kane County earns $10.04/hr and can afford a 2 BR rent at $522
  • In order to afford the FMR on a two bedroom, the average renter would need to make $18.42/hr
  • An average renter would need to work 73 hours per week to afford FMR on a two-bedroom residence.

SOURCE: Northern Illinois Food Bank


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