Food Insecurity Research and Statistics

Every week, nearly 70,000 New Mexicans seek food assistance.  That’s the equivalent of a city the size of Santa Fe needing assistance every week.

  • Between 30% and 40% of the members of households seeking food assistance are children under the age of 18.
  • 21% of the people seeking food assistance in New Mexico are senior citizens.
  • 61% of households report that in the previous year they had to choose between paying utilities or buying food.  Of this group, 33% reported that they have to make this tough choice every month.
  • 48% of households report having to choose between paying their rent or mortgage or buying food.  19% of this group are forced to make this choice every month.
  • 75% report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food as the most common way to have at least some food in their household.

Myths About Hunger

While many people believe that the only people needing food assistance are homeless or out of work, 53% of households seeking emergency food assistance include at least one employed adult, and only 11% of the people seeking assistance are homeless.

While thousands of New Mexicans receive assistance through SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), those funds only provide 2.3 weeks of groceries.

Links to Additional Research

  • Map the Meal Gap is conducted by Feeding America and provides county level food insecurity data.  The most recent statistics were released in May 2019.
  • The Missing Meals Study was conducted by Roadrunner Food Bank, with support from PNM and was released in 2010.
  • Feeding America has released the Senior Hunger in America report which looks at food insecurity for seniors.  It is based off of data collected in 2017.
  • The Hunger Study released by Feeding America and the NM Association of Food Banks, compiles data from 2013 to provide a snapshot for the state of New Mexico.