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Oklahoma Poverty Awareness


Poverty and hunger are real problems in Oklahoma. For families who are forced to choose between buying food to eat or paying their utility bill, emergency feeding programs can be a lifeline.

Hunger & Poverty in Oklahoma:

  • Oklahoma is ranked the fifth-hungriest state by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
  • One out of every six (16.9 percent) of Oklahomans live in poverty.
  • The poverty rate for children under 18 is 24.5 percent—nearly one out of every four children in Oklahoma lives in poverty.
  • 44 percent of Oklahoma children qualify for free or reduced-priced schools meals.
  • 44 percent of clients seeking emergency food assistance in Oklahoma are children under 18.
  • 48 percent of clients using emergency food programs report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities.
  • 11.4 percent of residents of eastern Oklahoma have used an emergency food program at least once in the last year.
  • 65% of all client households using emergency food pantries in Eastern Oklahoma had monthly incomes of less than $1,000.
  • The single fastest growing group of people relying on emergency feeding programs is the working poor: households where both parents may be working, or where one is holding down one or more low-paying jobs.
  • Of households experiencing hunger, less than 20% are classified as unemployed. More than one-third are disabled and/or retired, while the remaining 46% have at least one working member.

Sources: The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

Poverty and hunger facts for eastern Oklahoma.

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