PRESS RELEASE: 1 in 2 Philadelphia-District Households with Kids Can’t Afford Enough Food

August 11, 2011

Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District ranked second-worst in the nation for food hardship among families with kids. 

(Philadelphia)—Nearly half of all households with children in Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District struggle to afford enough food, according to a report released today by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The First District, represented by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, includes South Philadelphia, parts of Central and North Philadelphia, the city of Chester and other portions of Delaware County.

Pennsylvania reported alarming rates of food hardship—the ability to afford enough food—among children across all 19 of its Congressional Districts. Of the nation’s 436 Congressional districts, Brady’s First District ranks second-worst for food hardship among households with children. Pennsylvania’s Second Congressional District, represented by U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, ranked 42nd in the nation, with nearly one-third of such households (32%) experiencing food hardship. But even in the district with the lowest rate of food hardship in Pennsylvania—U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick’s district, which includes much of Bucks County—more than 1 in 10 families still can’t afford enough food for their children.

“Hunger doesn’t discriminate, and its impacts are devastating for children, making it impossible for them to learn in school and reach their full potential,” said Carey Morgan, Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. “This report should convince every last member of Congress that now is not the time to weaken America’s safety net. No matter how divisive the debate over the budget deficit has become, Congress must protect SNAP (food stamps), WIC, school meals and other nutrition programs that help families put food on their tables.”

Data from the report came from a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has interviewed more than 1 million households since January 2008. Households were asked: “Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” In the U.S. as a whole, 18 percent of all households polled responded yes; in households with children, that figure reached more than 23 percent. In Pennsylvania, food hardship among households with children is nearly 22 percent. 

“In the battle over the federal budget, we constantly hear Congressional members talking about cutting the deficit to avoid passing these debts on to their children or their children’s children,” Morgan said. “Politicians need to stop talking about American children as an abstraction and start talking about the millions of real children who don’t have enough to eat right now. These are the kids whose health and development are at risk right now, and ultimately, these are the kids who Congress has the power to help today.”  

*The following table lists food hardship rates for every Congressional District in Pennsylvania. The table also shows how Congressional representatives voted on U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s House Budget plan that slashes SNAP (food stamps) and other vital nutrition programs for families.  

Food Hardship Rates for Every Congressional District in Pennsylvania

RepresentativeVote on Ryan Budget Plan that Cuts Nutrition ProgramsFood Hardship Rate 2008-2010
Robert A. Brady  
No   49.6
Chaka FattahNo32.2
Mike KellyYes 26.3
Jason AltmireNo18.9
Glenn ThompsonYes24.8
Jim GerlachYes14.7
Patrick MeehanYes15.0
Michael FitzpatrickYes11.9
Bill ShusterYes21.2
Tom MarinoYes22.4
Lou BarlettaYes26.0
Mark CritzNo22.7
Allyson SchwartzNo14.6
Michael DoyleNo25.4
Charles DentYes21.6
Joseph PittsYes18.1
Tim HoldenNo19.7
Tim MurphyYes17.5
Todd Russell PlattsYes19.6

For the full report, visit www.frac.org.