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Over 9 Million Adults Ages 50 and Older Faced Food Insecurity in 2020

Over 9 million Americans ages 50 and older (about 1 in 12) were food insecure in 2020, meaning they had limited or uncertain access to adequate, nutritious food. That number that did not change substantially from 2019, despite a pandemic that caused widespread job loss that hit older workers particularly hard. This finding suggests that congressional actions such as boosts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may have helped millions of older adults put food on the table in a time of need and prevented overall increases in food insecurity.

spinner image Food Insecurity Among Adults 50 Plus
More Than 9 Million Older Adults Face Food Insecurity

However, the data also reveal important differences by state, age, race and ethnicity, and other demographics. Food insecurity is most prevalent among older adults who: are younger (i.e., ages 50–59); are Black, Native American, or Hispanic; are lower income; and have lower levels of educational attainment.

This fact sheet describes trends in food insecurity and selected characteristics of food-insecure adults ages 50 and older. State level data are included. See the data.

Suggested citation:

Dean, Olivia, and Carlos Figueiredo. Over 9 Million Adults Ages 50 and Older Faced Food Insecurity in 2020. Washington, DC: AARP Public Policy Institute, March 31, 2022.