The U.S.’s largest hunger-relief organization, Feeding America, has released their eighth annual research study on food insecurity, food price variations, and family budget shortfalls across the U.S., Map the Meal Gap 2018.
The study, presented as an interactive map, found 97 percent of counties in the U.S. have families facing hunger who are ineligible for federal nutritional assistance, finding themselves in the meal gap.
“While the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks delivers more than four billion meals annually to people facing hunger, [SNAP] serves 12 meals for every one meal we provide,” says Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “As Congress debates the 2018 Farm Bill, SNAP must be protected and strengthened so that people facing hunger and working to re-establish independent lives have the essential food resources they need.”
Using data from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Census Bureau Current Population Survey (CPS), Bureau of Labor Statistics, and food price data and analysis from Nielsen, Map the Meal Gap is the only study that provides community-level estimates across the U.S., including every county and congressional district.
Feeding America found that food insecurity exists in every county in the U.S., reaching a height of 36 percent in Jefferson County, Mississippi. At a state level, the percentage of children estimated to live in a food insecure household ranges from nine percent in North Dakota to 26 percent in New Mexico. Additional findings show that the rural and southern counties have disproportionate levels of food insecurity compared with the rest of the U.S.
Founding sponsor of the Map the Meal Gap study and CEO of The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Howard G. Buffet, says “Map the Meal Gap serves as a powerful tool to advocate for hunger relief and educate Americans about the reality of hunger in our country. We believe that clearly defining the face of hunger in the United States is an essential first step toward a more food-secure future.”
Click here to see findings from previous Map the Meal Gap reports.