You Probably Wouldn't Guess The One Country Whose People Are Slipping Into Mass Hunger

This one may come as a surprise.

When someone says "world hunger," your mind may wander to a poor village or desert country.

Unfortunately, hunger is an issue faced by people all over the world, for all different reasons. In the United States, 50 million people are considered "food insecure," which means they don't know where or how they will get their next meal. That frightening number accounts for one in six Americans, and is made even more terrifying when you consider that only 45 percent of Americans say hunger is "a serious issue." And yet, according to Pew, nearly one in four people said they have trouble putting food on the table.

“We can end hunger in America, but it won’t be through emergency feeding and charity," says Hannah Lupien, Policy Director at West Side Campaign Against Hunger. "Without a higher minimum wage and robust social support programs we will continue to put Band-Aid solutions on the problem.”

Nation Swell

It's astounding and sad that America stands alone as being an incredibly wealthy country that isn't feeding its people. 

Of course, there is no shortage of food or charity in the United States. And unemployment isn't the culprit, either; 85 percent of food insecure homes have at least one working adult. The real issues are public policy and poverty.

"Charity is a great thing but it's not the way to end hunger," Jeff Bridges, National Spokesperson for No Kid Hungry says in the critically acclaimed documentary A Place At The Table, which profiles struggling families all over America"We don't fund our Department of Defense through charity... if another nation was doing this to our children, we'd be at war."

"I know what it's like to have your children look at you in your eyes and tell you they're hungry," Barbie from Philadelphia says. "And you have to try and force them to go to sleep, as if they did something wrong."

While house panels have cut programs like food stamps, which puts more people at risk of becoming hungry, income inequality continues to grow. Unfortunately, while the problem gets talked about by administration after administration, it only seems to be getting worse.

Perhaps most upsetting of all, though, is how close America once came to eradicating hunger. In the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson laid out his "Great Society" legislation that nearly ended hunger for good by doubling the amount of spending on helping the poor. The programs instituted by the legislation were a massive success until they were decimated in the 1980s. 

"If there is one person in this country hungry, that is one too many." - Ronald Reagan, when the country had 20 million hungry.

Getty Images / Spencer Platt
Getty Images / Spencer Platt

"For those who cannot do for themselves, society has to respond." - George Bush, when the country had 30 million hungry.

"In this era of unprecedented prosperity, we still have some work of our own to do." - Bill Clinton, when the country had 33 million hungry.

Getty Images / Spencer Platt
Getty Images / Spencer Platt

"We hear the calls to take on the challenges of hunger and poverty and disease and that is precisely what America is doing." - George W. Bush, when the country had 49 million hungry.

"Let's meet the moment, lets get to work and lets show the world once again the United States of America remains the greatest country on Earth." - Barack Obama, when the country had 50 million hungry.

Getty Images / Spencer Platt
Getty Images / Spencer Platt

If you care about the hungry in the United States, be sure to check out Great Nations Eat or see how No Kid Hungry is battling this issue.

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