13 Essential Senior Hunger Statistics To Know In 2022

Older people and seniors are amongst the most vulnerable group when we’re talking about food insecurity, hunger, and starvation. Their bodies are fragile and exposed to many hunger-related illnesses such as depression, diabetes, asthma, and congestive heart failure.

How many seniors are facing food insecurity? What health problems could they have if they’re suffering from malnutrition?

In today’s article, we’re talking about the seniors’ hunger situation in the United States and Africa.

Keep on reading and get all the info.

4 Key Senior Hunger Statistics (Editor’s Pick)

  • In  2019, the Oklahoma City area had 16.7% food-insecure seniors.
  • Food-insecure seniors have low intake levels of iron, calcium, protein.
  • By 2050, Kenya will have 9 million seniors.
  • Older people face particular challenges during humanitarian crises.

13 Senior Hunger Statistics

1. By 2053, there will be 2.4 billion seniors in the world.

The data provided by The Borgen Project in 2013 stated that the world’s aging population continues to increase. Due to that, global hunger for senior citizens is becoming a concern for international health organizations. It is estimated that in the next 40 years, the number of people who are over the age of 60 will increase from 600 million to 2.4 billion people.

Source: The Borgen Project

2. There was a 1 million decrease of food-insecure seniors in 2019.

In 2019 in America, there were 5.2 million food-insecure seniors. That is 7.1% or 1 in 14 seniors in the United States. The year before, there were 5.3 million seniors who didn’t have food security. That was a slight improvement, however, the number was still too high.

Source: Feeding America

3. Seniors were still facing higher levels of food insecurity than before the Great Recession.

According to Feeding America, in 2019 there were higher levels of food insecurity among the seniors than before the Great Recession that started in December 2007. The thing about seniors fighting food insecurity and hunger is that their bodies don’t have a great immune system nor health which is much-need while suffering from not enough food intake.

Source: Feeding America

4. In 2019, Kentucky had 16.9% of food-insecure seniors.

The data provided by Feeding America stated that in 2019, 9.5% of adults aged 50-59 (1 in 11) were food insecure in the United States. If we’re talking on the state level, the rates ranged from 3.5% of food-insecure seniors in Colorado to 16.9% in Kentucky. At the metropolitan area level, the Denver-Aurora area had 3.4% of seniors who are food insecure, while the Oklahoma City area had 16.7% of them.

13 Essential Senior Hunger Statistics To Know In 2022 - American Seniors

Source: Feeding America

5. More than 60% of seniors need to choose between food and medical care.

63% of seniors who are visiting food banks in America stated they need to choose between 2 essential needs in life – food and medical care. Older people need good medical care due to their fragile and vulnerable health, but they also need food that contains proper and vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that will ease up their life on an everyday basis. However, making them choose one of the 2 options, increases the risk of developing severe health problems.

Source: Feeding America

6. Food insecure seniors have lower intake levels of iron, calcium, and protein.

According to the study conducted by Feeding America, food-insecure seniors had lower intakes of some vital nutrients. The intake of their iron was 13.3%, of calcium 9.7%, and of protein 9.2%. Those intakes are significantly lower than those of food-secure seniors. The iron-deficiency is the second most common cause of anemia in seniors. If the body doesn’t get enough calcium, it takes it from the bones and due to that, it comes to losing bone bass. Protein on the other hand is needed to maintain muscle health.

Source: Feeding America, NCBI, and Iron Disorders Institute

7. Food-insecure seniors are at higher risk to get congestive heart failure.

Food insecurity, hunger, and starvation have a severe impact on seniors’ health. Those that are suffering from food insecurity are more likely to have depression, diabetes, asthma, and congestive heart failure. The rates of getting these diseases are much higher than in food-secure seniors.

Source: Feeding America

8. Seniors face a $130 billion healthcare bill every year.

According to the data provided by Aging in Place, nearly one in every six seniors in America faces the threat of hunger or not being properly nourished. The situation is so serious that AARP’s report stated that seniors face a healthcare bill of more than $130 billion every year due to medical issues caused by hunger and starvation.

Source: Aging in Place and AARP

9. In 2021, there are more than 7 million food-insecure older adults.

The data provided by the National Council on Aging, there are 7.3 million older adults who suffer from food insecurity. They are without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable nutritious food. Food insecurity is mostly associated with low incomes, in this case, with a too small or no-existing pension.

13 Essential Senior Hunger Statistics To Know In 2022 - Seniors In 2021

Source: National Council on Aging

10. Older African men and women are fighting high levels of undernutrition.

In Africa, older men and women are facing food insecurity, hunger, and starvation. The prevalence of undernutrition is high both amongst men and women. 9.5% to 36.1% of African men are suffering undernourishment, while the percentages for women go from 13.1% to 27%.

Source: Journal of Nutrition

11. In Kenya, cash transfer programs helped 59,000 senior citizens.

Back in 2015 in Kenya, there were cash transfer programs that targeted those aged 65 or over who had no pension or any source of income. Such a program helped 59,000 senior citizens of Nairobi and Harare to get food and other life essentials. The government expected to see those numbers grow to at least 164,000 people in the upcoming years in each of the country’s 290 constituencies.

Source: IPS

12. By 2050, Kenya will have 9 million seniors.

Kenya has 2 million older people who represent about 4% of the total population. By 2050, it is estimated that the older population will increase to about 9 million which will make up approximately 9% of the total population. However, millions and millions of such seniors will suffer from hunger and starvation due to no income.

Source: The Conversation

13. Seniors are one of the most vulnerable food-insecure groups.

In 2017, parts of Kenya were affected by harsh drought and about 4 million people in the country were facing hunger and starvation, as well as malnutrition and possible death. The most vulnerable group were and always will be seniors, children, and babies. Older people aged 60 and above are disproportionately affected. Besides, decreased physical strength and disability can make their hunger situation even worse. Older people face particular challenges during humanitarian crises, such as distant relief and service points.

Source: The Conversation

To Wrap It Up

Seniors are definitely on the front line while fighting against hunger and starvation. They are at high risk of having serious health problems and at the end of the day, they need to choose between 2 life essentials – food and medical care. Luckily, the countries are recognizing the problem and trying to provide food assistance and cash help in order to help those seniors in need.

Ana loves sharing unusual recipes, combining herbs and spices, writing about current news, and studies about food trends and restaurants. She lives in Croatia and in her free time, she loves cooking and tasting different wine nuances, as well as traveling and enjoying the local cuisine. Ana’s favorite combination is based on seafood and red wines from the south.