New Study Finds Rate of Senior Food Insecurity Remains Unchanged While Overall Population Rate Improves in the U.S.

5.4% of seniors face food insecurity in Vermont

Barre, VT – May 28, 2019 – Earlier this month, as part of Older Americans Month, the Vermont Foodbank announced the release of The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2017, a study about food insecurity among seniors in the United States published by Feeding America®. The report sheds light on the extent to which food insecurity, or lack of access to nutritious food, affects seniors age 60 and older in the United States, offering deeper insights into the experience of food insecurity among the aging population. The report shows that 5.5 million seniors age 60 or older (7.7 percent) were food insecure in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available. In Vermont the food insecurity rate for seniors is lower than the national average at 5.4%.

“After a lifetime of working and raising families, it is unacceptable that 5.5 million seniors face hunger,” said Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot. “As a nationwide network of 200 food banks, Feeding America is making significant investments in our senior hunger strategy to understand the barriers seniors face and support programs that increase access to nutritious food for seniors throughout the country.”

In examining the extent of the threat of hunger nationally among seniors in 2017, the report also provides the rates of senior hunger in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, for the first time, the report provides the rates of senior food insecurity in 51 metropolitan areas.

“Here in Vermont, the Foodbank and our partners are hard at work to ensure that older adults in our communities have access to the food they need to stay healthy and thrive,” says Vermont Foodbank CEO, John Sayles. “It is unacceptable that so many of our nation’s older adults retire into poverty and struggle to afford food. We must work together to change this.”

Key findings include:

  • Food-insecure seniors live in communities across the country, including all 50 states and Washington, D.C. In 2017, senior food insecurity rates at the state level range from 2.8% in Minnesota to 12.3% in Louisiana.
  • Senior food insecurity in metro areas varies from 3.0% in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota metro area to 17.3% in the Memphis, Tennessee metro area.
  • Vermont, with 5.4% of seniors food insecure, falls in the low end of that range.
  • In 2017, seniors who live in the southern Unites States are more likely to be food insecure.

For the third consecutive year, The State of Senior Hunger in America was produced by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief charity with a nationwide network of 200 food banks. The study was conducted by researchers Dr. James P. Ziliak and Dr. Craig Gundersen and is the source for national-, state- and metro-level information about food insecurity among seniors age 60 and older. The full reports can be found on the Feeding America website.

Join the conversation about The State of Senior Hunger on social media using #SolveSeniorHunger


Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing nutritious food through a network of more than 300 community partners – food shelves, meal sites, schools, hospitals, and housing sites. Food insecurity has increased dramatically as a result of the pandemic, economic disruptions, and recent flooding. The Vermont Foodbank and its network have been on the front lines, working to ensure that everyone has the food they need to maintain their health. Last year, the Vermont Foodbank provided over 12 million pounds of food to people throughout Vermont. The Vermont Foodbank, a member of Feeding America, is nationally recognized as one of the most effective and efficient nonprofits and food banks in the nation.