This is an excerpt from the 2014 Hunger in America study.

“In addition to challenges related to employment and food, the households who rely on the Vermont Foodbank and its partner agencies may face challenges to their well-being, including health status and health conditions, medical insurance status, and income and poverty. These challenges can keep people out of the workforce, increase expenses, and limit resources. Together, these challenges may increase the need for charitable food assistance.

“The Client Survey asked respondents to characterize both their own health and the health of other household members. Respondents used a scale from “poor” to “excellent” to describe their health. In 15 percent of households, the respondent reports being in poor health, and in 23 percent of households the respondent reports being in fair health (see figure 12).

Vermont Foodbank Client Health

“In addition to self-reported respondent health, the Client Survey also asked respondents whether another household member was in poor health. Reflecting this general view of household health, 18 percent of households have  at least one member in poor health.

“Illnesses and medical disorders require management and supervision, and medical care can present a substantial financial challenge. The Client Survey explored whether anyone in the clients’ households has been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure; whether anyone has health insurance, either private or government-sponsored (such as Medicaid or Medicare); and whether the households have any unpaid medical bills.

  • 23% of client households have a member with diabetes.
  • 46% of client households have a member with high blood pressure.
  • 10% of client households lack health insurance of any kind (including Medicaid).
  • 52% of client households have medical bills to pay.

“Finally, reported household income and poverty status also demonstrate the financial struggles of clients served by Vermont Foodbank and its partner agencies (see figure 13).

Vermont Foodbank Client Health and Income

  •  2 percent of client households have no income, 40 percent have annual incomes of $1 to $10,000, and  3 percent have annual incomes of $10,001 to $20,000.
  • Looking at annual income as a percentage of the poverty level, 57 percent of client households fall at or below 100 percent of the poverty level (23).

Vermont Foodbank Client Household Annual Income as Percentage of Poverty Level

To read the full Hunger in America 2014 study, visit our website.


(23) Poverty guidelines vary by household size. In 2013, a single person is considered to be living in poverty (falls under 100 percent of the poverty level) with annual cash income at or below $11,400, two people are living in poverty at or below $15,510, and three people are living in poverty with income at or below $19,530. For all guidelines, see US Health and Human Services Department “Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines,” Federal Register, January 24, 2013.