Monday, May 08, 2017

Map charts county-level data of food insecurity

Feeding America, which calls itself the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, has published a map of county-level food insecurity rates in the U.S. Overall, 42.2 million people, or 13.4 percent of the population, were food insecure in 2015, the last year for which data are available. The highest rate was in Mississippi, where 21.5 percent are food insecure. (Feeding America map of food insecurity; click on it for a larger version. For an interactive version with county-by-county data, click here)
Rates also were high in Arkansas (18.4 percent), Alabama (17.7), Louisiana (16.9), North Carolina (16.5), Georgia and Oklahoma (16.2), New Mexico and Ohio (16), Arizona and Kentucky (15.8), Texas (15.7), Missouri (15.6), South Carolina and Tennessee (15.4) and Florida and Michigan (15.1). A cluster of counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi have rates above 30 percent. The data also give estimates for the percentage of children in each county who are food-insecure.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as "lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Food-insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods."

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