One in Eight Utah Households Struggled to Afford Enough Food in 2015

Utahns Against Hunger LogoDespite an improving economy, one in eight households in Utah – 12.9 percent –  reported they still struggled to afford enough for their households in 2015, according to a new report released by the Food Research & Action Center. 

How Hungry is America? provides data on food hardship – the inability to afford enough food – for every state, the District of Columbia, and 109 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), including Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo.  The report found that nationally the food hardship rate was 16 percent in 2015. Despite dropping three points from 18.9 percent in 2013 — the lowest since early 2008 — the report reveals that still no corner of the country is immune to hunger.

For Utah it found that:

o             In 2015, 12.9 percent of households in the state reported they were unable to afford enough food.

o             For the Salt Lake City MSA, the food hardship rate for 2014-2015 was 15% percent.

o             For the Ogden-Clearfield MSA, the food hardship rate for 2014-2015 was 15.6% percent.

o             For Provo-Orem MSA, the food hardship rate for 2014-2015 was 10.5% percent.

“The good news is that Utah has seen improvements: the percentage of people reporting that they can’t afford enough food is down for Utah in general, but also in our larger metropolitan areas. However, far too many Utahns still struggle to get enough to eat.” said Gina Cornia, director of Utahns Against Hunger. “Federal nutrition programs — such as SNAP, free and reduced school meals, and summer food — play a critical role for thousands of low-income Utahns, but we know more needs to be done to reach those who are eligible and to improve these programs. These programs are not welfare, they are investments in our neighbors to ensure they don’t have to go without. Utahns Against Hunger urges our Members of Congress to focus on protecting and strengthening these proven programs across America, and to oppose any proposal that would threaten our nation’s nutrition safety net,” Cornia said.

“It is crucial that the nation take actions that will dramatically decrease food hardship numbers,” said Jim Weill, president of FRAC. “The cost of not doing so — in terms of damage to health, education, early childhood development, and productivity — is just too high. The moral cost of not doing so is even higher.”

How Hungry is America? contains data throughout 2015 for every state and 109 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA). The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing hundreds of households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”

The full report is available at