Hunger in America, a study by the Vermont Foodbank and Feeding America, shows that 1 in 4 people, or an estimated 153,000 people, in Vermont turn to food shelves and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families. This includes 33,900 children and 26,010 seniors who are Vermont Foodbank clients.

We’ve taken an excerpt, below, from the study to detail the demographics of the clients visiting food shelves and meal sites.You can also download the Hunger in America Executive Summary or the full report here.

“We first explore the demographic characteristics of the unduplicated (unique) individuals served directly by Vermont Foodbank and its partner agencies annually, including age, race/ethnicity, and education level and student status of adult clients.

Vermont Foodbank Clients

Vermont Foodbank Clients

“The age breakdown of clients is notable in several ways. Across all food programs the most common listed age range is 30-49 years, encompassing 28 percent of clients. Combining relevant categories, however, a full 24 percent of clients are children under age 18. We know that this figure, encompassing 33,900 children, is an underestimate as programs that only serve children were excluded from eligibility for the Client Survey, and children at multi-age meal programs were not eligible to be sampled for the survey and are thus not represented. The actual number of children served is likely much greater. Seniors are an important and potentially vulnerable group as well, with 17 percent of all clients 60 years old or older.

“Clients are racially and ethnically diverse: 88 percent identify themselves as white, 1 percent as black or African-American, and 2 percent as Hispanic or Latino. Additionally, in the area served by Vermont Foodbank, 9 percent of clients are of some other race.

“Educational qualifications often drive employment opportunities and, in turn, income. Based on reporting of the educational attainment of all adult members of client households, 53 percent of adult clients have attained a high school degree or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) and 24 percent have a post-high school education (including license or certification, some college, a two-year or four-year degree). Some adult clients are seeking to increase their levels of education, with 5 percent in school full-time and 3 percent in school part-time.

You can download the Hunger in America Executive Summary or the full report here.