Jun 6, 2024 - Technology

2. Food insecurity, mapped

Map showing change in number of individuals experiencing food insecurity from 2021 to 2022 by U.S. state. Nationally, the number of such individuals increased by 30.5%. North Dakota had the highest increase, at 56.8%, while D.C. had the lowest, at 7.5%.
Data: Feeding America; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Food insecurity is worsening the most drastically in the Midwest, where the number of food-insecure people increased by over 40% in several states from 2021 to 2022, a new report finds.

Why it matters: The national rate of food insecurity is about 13% across all counties — but some areas are struggling with hunger to a much more severe degree.

Driving the news: The data comes by way of Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks, which issues an annual "Map the Meal Gap" report.

  • North Dakota (+56.8%), South Dakota (+45.6%) and Iowa (+44.6%) saw the biggest increases in the number of food-insecure people from 2021 to 2022.
  • Washington, D.C. (+7.5%), Hawai'i (+10.1%) and Nevada (+11.5%) saw the lowest.
  • Child food insecurity, meanwhile, also exists in every U.S. county — and is as high as 48% in at least one: East Carroll Parish, Louisiana.

How it works: The report uses the USDA's definition of food insecurity: a "lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life due to limited financial resources."

  • But Feeding America looks at a combination of factors — like unemployment, poverty, homeownership, income and disability status — to get what it says is a more accurate estimate compared to other assessments.

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