Research & Policy Development

Hunger Free AmericaTM is leading the national advocacy movement to end hunger in America.

Our groundbreaking advocacy campaigns and original research provide sound data to support our fight to end hunger and increase equality across the nation.

Our community organizing, and policy and research efforts, provide a national model for peer organizations in the anti-hunger movement. Working with officials at every level of government, we advance policies to end hunger and promote economic justice. 


We conduct original research on hunger and poverty in New York City and America to help the public better understand the causes of, and solutions to, hunger and poverty. Our research informs our policy recommendations and is a valuable tool for partner organizations and elected officials alike. Our research publications are often cited by leading elected officials, top national news outlets, and used as a point of reference in developing government policies.

NYC Annual Survey & Hunger Report

The most widely cited data on hunger in New York City, our Annual Hunger Survey Report provides original data on hunger across the five boroughs, and collects information from emergency food providers. Our 2019 report found that although hunger and poverty has decreased in the past six years, one of eight city residents still struggled against hunger and the demand for kitchens and pantries has significantly increased. 

The report was released Thanksgiving week and promoted at press conferences in Brooklyn and Staten Island with citywide and state officials and community leaders. 

Key findings from the report include:

  • In New York City, 1.04 million people lived in food insecure households in 2016-2018.

  • In 2016-18, 12.2 percent of the city’s population suffered from food insecurity, including 16.2 percent of all children, 7.6 percent of all employed adults, and 10.1 percent of all seniors.

  • New York City food pantries and soup kitchens fed 10 percent more people in 2019 than the previous year.

  • In 2019, 34 percent of pantries and kitchens in New York City were forced to turn people away, reduce their portion sizes, and/or limit their hours of operation due to a lack of resources.

  • In the New York City Metropolitan area (including New York City and suburbs in New York State, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), the number of people struggling against hunger decreased by 24.5 percent during the past six years, declining from 2.5 million people in 2013-2015 to 2.1 million in 2016-2018. However, one in nine state residents still struggled against hunger. 

  • While food insecurity among workers declined, most likely due to minimum wage increases, the area is still facing a "working hungry epidemic." The number of adults working, but still struggling against hunger, in 2016-2018, was 300,718 in New York City, 632,768 in New York State and 637,270 in the New York Metropolitan region. 

To view the 2019 report click on the PDF below:

SNAP Participation Research:

SNAP Declines Yet Hunger Persists: NYC Caseloads 2012-2016 and the Need to Ease Access to Benefits

This study analyzed data on SNAP caseloads, economic trends, and surveys of SNAP applicants and participants to better understand the large drop in SNAP participation over this period and to identify strategies to improve access to SNAP benefits for all New Yorkers in need of food assistance.

Read the full report here: