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Poverty and Aging

Understanding Older Adult Hunger: Facts-at-a-Glance

Poverty, food insecurity, and hunger go hand in hand. In the face of the current economic recession, rates of hunger and food insecurity have increased significantly at the same time that financial and in-kind food contributions have been stretched.

  • Poverty Rates. Currently, 9.4 percent of individuals older than 65 live in poverty in the United States. Nearly 1 million older adults — 2.5 percent of those over 65 — live in very severe poverty (with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line) [U.S. Census, 2006]. 


  • Food Insecurity. Five million Americans age 60 and older — more than 11 percent of all older Americans — have experienced some type of food insecurity,  struggling to afford enough healthy food to meet their basic needs. Of these, about 2.5 million were at risk of food insecurity and about 750,000 suffered from hunger  because of financial constraints [Ziliak, Gundersen and Haist, 2008].


  • Increased Rates of Food Insecurity and Hunger. Between 2006 and 2008, the number of poor and near-poor older Americans with very low food security increased significantly, from 4.7 percent to 10.1 percent [AARP Public Policy Institute 2010]. More than 700,000 older adults faced a risk of hunger in 2007 than those that did in 2001 [Ziliak, Gundersen and Haist, 2010].

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Our Story

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AARP Foundation wants to win back opportunity for those now in crisis. Watch

Age Strong: An Impact Investment

Age Strong is an innovative social investment initiative to invest in critical services and programs for struggling adults 50-plus. Learn more

Programs & Services

AARP Foundation SCSEP

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is the nation's oldest program to help low-income, unemployed individuals aged 55+ find work. Go

AARP Tax Aide

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

This program offers free assistance with tax-return preparation. Go

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Housing Solutions Center

This program offers free HUD-certified counseling and assistance to 50+ homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. Go

Medical team at a computer, AARP Foundation Back to Work 50+


We are partnering with workforce services providers to strengthen the bridge between 50+ job candidates and respected employers. Go

AARP Experience Corps: Blue Hill Boys and Girls Club

AARP Foundation Experience Corps

Experience Corps is a literacy program that utilizes highly trained volunteers age 50 and over to help struggling students become great readers. Go