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Senior Hunger and Food Insecurity Are Growing Problems

Older adults are dealing with rising food prices by spending more money and buying cheaper brands.

Most adults 50-plus believe senior hunger is problematic, and the view that senior hunger is a big problem has risen in the last year.

AARP's advocacy work on senior hunger is seen as important by majorities of men and women, irrespective of age, with income being a key a driver of views toward AARP's advocacy on this issue.

When asked how increasing grocery prices have affected how they shop for food, about half of adults 50-plus report spending more money and buying cheaper brands.  And when tradeoffs are needed to pay for food, transportation expenses are the ones most commonly reduced by midlife and older adults, followed closely by utilities.

Rising food prices are now affecting one-half of adults 50-plus at least several shopping days, with the percentage saying prices have never affected their ability to access food dropping notably from February to December 2022.

Rising food prices are the top factor affecting midlife and older adults' ability to access food.  Along with rising food prices, low wages, physical disability, unemployment, and travel, challenges are more likely to negatively affect access to food among adults 50–64 than among those 65 and older.


The 2022 Hunger Trends study was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago for AARP.  U.S. adults ages 50 and older were surveyed through the online NORC AmeriSpeak 50+ Omnibus to learn more about hunger among midlife and older adults and to determine whether the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were affecting adults' ability to purchase affordable food.

The survey interviews averaged 12 minutes in length by telephone and 8 minutes in length online. The interviews were conducted in English at four points in time: February 24–March 1, July 21–July 26; September 15–September 19; and December 8–December 2022.

In February, 1,149 completed interviews; in July, 1,024 completed interviews; in September, 1,004 completed interviews; and in December, a total of 1,173 completed interviews.

For more information, contact Teresa A. Keenan, For media inquiries, contact

Suggested citation:

Keenan, Teresa A. and Cheryl Lampkin. 2022 Hunger Trends Among Adults 50-Plus. Washington, DC: AARP Research, February 2023.

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