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June 9, 2016

Human Needs Index Registers Increase

Based on Salvation Army service date since 2004.

According to the update of the Human Needs Index (HNI), the level of American need rose in 2015 by 15 percent and reversed the trend in improvements seen from 2012 until 2014. The HNI, created by The Salvation Army in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, is a measure of human needs based on objective monthly service data compiled by the Army nationwide. The HNI measures trends nationally and state by state so relief efforts can be directed efficiently.

The index measures need by region so assistance can be targeted.

The HNI tracks changing levels of need for basic assistance including meals, groceries, clothing and furniture, as well as help paying for housing (mortgage/rent assistance), medical/prescription expenses and energy bills.

The HNI scale begins at 0, which indicates a minimum level of need. In the past decade, the HNI reached its highest level in 2012 (3.00) and began to trend downward in 2013 (2.57) and 2014 (1.97) before an increase of need in 2015 (2.28).

  • Arkansas (+181.6%), Alabama (+126.8%), Colorado (+104.4%), South Carolina (+96.6%), and West Virginia (+95.5%) showed the greatest increases in need. Some of those states saw layoffs in the energy sector after falling prices slowed mining, drilling and exploration. Natural disasters such as flooding also boosted need.
  • Clothing (+47%) and furniture (+35%) were the need categories showing the greatest per capita increase.



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