By the Numbers: Student hunger in Canada

Student hunger in CanadaToronto – November 11, 2016 – A recent study, entitled Hungry for Knowledge, reveals that nearly half of Canadian students are 'food insecure.' Food insecurity is the lack of income or resources to reliably access a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The shocking study uncovers the reality many students face of having to choose between food, housing, tuition and textbooks.


Nearly half of the students surveyed in this study have experienced some form of food insecurity.


Nearly one-quarter of students surveyed reported that their physical health was affected from being food insecure. While 20% reported that their mental health had been impacted.

4 million

Approximately 4 million Canadians, including 1.5 million children, experience food insecurity to some degree.


Percentage of students who identified as Aboriginal who have experience food in security


Three out of four students who identified as being from African background have experienced some form of food insecurity.


The number of campus-based hunger relief programs across Canada in 2016. A number which has grown from 51 in 2004.


The average debt that undergraduate students in Canada have after completing their studies. In 2000, this average was $20,500.


The average healthcare costs for food-insecure households have been estimated to be 16% to 76% higher than the cost incurred by food-secure households.


The amount of post-secondary students who use food banks per month in Canada in 2014.

Sources: "Hungry for knowledge: Assessing the prevalence of student food insecurity on five Canadian campuses," Meal Exchange, 2016.