May 22, 2024 - News

🍽 Food insecurity increases in Austin

an illustration of a cracker in the shape of a dollar sign

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

Texas has passed California in the percentage of the population that is food insecure, per a new report from Feeding America.

Why it matters: Food insecurity has been rising nationwide and in Texas since the Great Recession, but about half of the people here who struggle to pay for enough meals don't qualify for federal assistance like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The big picture: The state's food insecurity rate rose to 16.4% in 2022, up from 13.7% in 2021. That means 1 in 6 Texans face hunger.

  • About 1.7 million children — or 22.8% of kids — face hunger in Texas.

State of play: There are stark gaps depending on race, with 1 in 5 Black people in the North Texas Food Bank service area facing food insecurity. By comparison, 1 in 11 white people are food insecure.

Zoom in: In Travis County, nearly 187,990 residents, or 14.6% of the population, are food insecure.

Stunning stat: Nationally, food insecure individuals reported spending $3.99 per meal or $363.09 per month in 2022. Even adjusting for inflation, that's a 3% increase from the previous year.

The bottom line: Rising food prices and increasing cost of living have made it harder for people to be able to afford food.

Go deeper: See how Texas counties fare.


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