Even though it’s often hidden, we know that hunger is everywhere, in every single community. Each year, Feeding America uncovers what food insecurity looks like at the county and congressional district level in its Map the Meal Gap study, which is based on the most up-to-date public data available. Food insecurity — meaning a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life — is deeply affecting families in every corner of the country.
Map the Meal Gap 2017, released on May 4, 2017, uncovered grim news: Millions of Americans facing hunger are finding it increasingly difficult to afford enough food and groceries to feed themselves and their families. Even though the economy has been improving, food insecurity and poverty remain higher than before the Great Recession began. And while food insecurity rates have declined, the millions of people still facing hunger could be falling further behind.
This research uncovered just what the need looks like across the country, and why we need to continue to fight. Here’s a snapshot of those findings:
- Nearly every other child in Issaquena County, Mississippi, is facing hunger. This county has the highest child food insecurity rate at 40.5%, which is almost twice the national county average.
- In Los Angeles County, California, nearly 1.3 million people and half a million children struggle with hunger. These are the highest numbers for a single county in the country.
- One out of 11 children in North Dakota face hunger — and that’s the lowest child food insecurity rate in the country.
- Crook County, Oregon, has the highest meal cost in the country at $5.61 — the national average meal cost is $2.94. A higher meal cost can strain a family’s budget.
- Miami-Dade, Florida, is the most populous county where 100% of the people struggling with hunger are likely eligible for SNAP, with 237,000 people potentially qualifying for government assistance.
Even though we’ve made progress in the fight against hunger, there is still much more work to do. Understanding the need is the first step — discover what hunger looks like in your community.
Here are some key local findings from Food Finders Food Bank’s 16-county service area:
- The average weekly food budget shortfall per food insecure person is only $15.62
- Of the food insecure population, 16 percent may qualify for free/reduced lunch, while 23 percent earn too much to qualify for any federal assistance
- Following the national trend, in every county across FFFB’s service area, children are at a higher risk of food insecurity compared to the overall population
To learn more about food insecurity, its causes, and its impact, check out Understanding Hunger and Food Insecurity ›