2018 Status Report on Hunger

2018 Status Report on Hunger
Working Families Struggle to Make Ends Meet

Each year, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank releases its Status Report on Hunger, calling attention to the issues around hunger in the state of Rhode Island.

Download the 2018 Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island.


  • Hunger is more prevalent in Rhode Island than it was 10 years ago.
  • Food insecurity affects one in eight Rhode Island households.
  • Inflation outpaces wage growth for many workers.
  • Demand for food assistance remains high throughout the Food Bank’s statewide network of member agencies, serving 53,000 people each month.

Rising Prices Hurt Low-Income Families in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is experiencing economic prosperity and low unemployment for the first time in many years. Workers are beginning to see their wages and incomes increase. But the improving economy has a downside: the high cost of living in Rhode Island. The cost of basic household expenses – including rent, fuel and food – has gone up dramatically, canceling out the financial gains of many workers.

Food inflation alone is outpacing wage growth. In a study of supermarket prices in Rhode Island, food costs grew by 15 percent over the last two years. By comparison, workers’ wages increased by just 5 percent in the same time period.

Food Inflation Adds to Food Insecurity

Rising prices make it harder for low-income families to afford adequate food. According to the most recent report from the USDA, 12.4 percent of Rhode Island households (54,200 households) lack sufficient food to meet their nutritional needs. Among food insecure households, nearly half report cutting the size of meals, skipping meals and experiencing hunger – what the USDA terms “very low food security.” In Rhode Island, the prevalence of this severe degree of food insecurity is significantly higher than ten years ago.

View all results from the Rhode Island Food Cost study here.

Action Steps

The Food Bank encourages Rhode Islanders to advocate at the state and national level to prevent devastating cuts to safety net programs. We recommend the following steps:

  • Urge Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation to reject a Farm Bill that contains cuts to SNAP.
  • Ask the Governor to support Bonus Bucks at Farmers Markets to help SNAP recipients afford local, fresh food.
  • Boost the earnings of hard-working Rhode Islanders by telling legislators to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
  • Advocate for additional funding for the Food Bank to meet the continued high need for food assistance in Rhode Island.


For previous versions of our Status Report on Hunger, visit our Publications Page.