Hunger in Pennsylvania

In 2013, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap data, more than 1.8 million people in Pennsylvania experienced food insecurity and were at risk of hunger. That is 1 out of every 7 Pennsylvanians.

In 2013, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap data, more than 564,000 children were at risk of hunger and did not know where their next meal was coming from. This is 1 out of every 5 children in Pennsylvania.

The 6 counties with the highest rates of food insecurity among the general population are: Philadelphia (21.2%), Fayette (15.4%), Cameron (15.4%), Forest (15%), Centre (14.9%), and Clarion (14.9%).

The 6 counties with the highest rates of child food insecurity are: Cameron (27.2%), Fayette (25.8%), Forest (25.7%), Venango (25.4%), Luzerne (24.8%), and McKean (24.5%).

As of March 2015, more than 1.83 million Pennsylvanians were receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. These benefits can be used to purchase food at retailers like grocery and convenience stores and at some farmers’ markets. Unfortunately, for the average household, these benefits only last for about 3 weeks out of every month.

In 2014, approximately 602,000 low-income students in Pennsylvania accessed free or reduced-price lunch at school each day through the National School Lunch Program. In addition, 45% of these children – approximately 270,000 – also accessed free or reduced-price breakfasts at school. Unfortunately, many of these children are not able to access food during out-of-school times – after-school, weekends, school holidays, and during the summer months.

Pennsylvania’s food banks, food pantries, and charitable hunger relief organizations play a critical role in filling the gaps for Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger. Thanks to their collective efforts, many individuals who would otherwise go without are able to put food on the tables for themselves and their families.



Feeding America first published the Map the Meal Gap project in early 2011, with the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nielsen, to learn more about the face of hunger at the local level. In August, 2011, with the support of the ConAgra Foods Foundation, child food insecurity data was added to the project. The maps below reflect 2009 – 2013 data, and will be updated every year with new data. Select a year and your state in our interactive map below and start learning more about the residents struggling with hunger in your community and the food banks that serve them.

Learn more about Map the Meal Gap.