Food Poverty in NYC
Hunger is caused by food poverty, a lack of geographic and/or financial access to nutritious food. In New York City, one of the richest cities in the world, food poverty is around every corner. Throughout the five boroughs, approximately 1.4 million people — mainly women, children, seniors, the working poor and people with disabilities — rely on soup kitchens and food pantries. Approximately 2.6 million New Yorkers experience difficulty affording food for themselves and their families.
The Meal Gap, New York City's official measure of food insecurity, represents the meals missing from the homes of those struggling to put food on the table. Because the meal gap can be mapped, we can see where hunger lives. The map below shows New York City is missing 250 million meals.
Read more about the Meal Gap.
Meet the People We Help
Financial pressures such as unemployment, health care issues, housing
costs, and low wages continue to strain the budgets of New Yorkers with
low to moderate incomes. Low-income New Yorkers often have to choose
between providing enough food for themselves or their families and
paying the month's rent or utility bills. Middle-income New Yorkers are
also feeling the pressure, increasingly reporting difficulty affording
groceries. With food prices steadily rising, struggling New Yorkers' ability to buy food for themselves and their families is at a crisis level.
To make matters worse, approximately 3 million New Yorkers live in
low-income neighborhoods that lack access to affordable, nutritious
food. With their budgets already strained, and the prevalence of
low-cost, low-quality food in these neighborhoods, these residents face
significant challenges in maintaining a healthy lifestyle — leading to
high concentrations of diet-related conditions such as diabetes, obesity
Learn more about the largest groups relying on emergency food in New York City — through first-hand stories from New Yorkers in need, key statistics and videos taken at our citywide network of food assistance programs.