Hungry in America
More than 50 million people nationwide were food insecure in 2011—that’s one in six people in the United States, according to Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity based in Chicago. People who are food insecure sometimes lack access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some households aren’t food insecure all the time, according to Feeding America; they may have to make a choice between basic needs and nutritionally adequate food.
Feeding America produced “Map the Meal Gap” to illustrate the face of hunger at the local and state level. It found an additional $22 billion would be needed to meet the needs of all the food insecure people in the U.S. in 2011. Nationwide, 57 percent of the food insecure people in America fell below the threshold for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program guidelines of 130 percent of the federal poverty level, 18 percent were between 130 percent and 185 percent of that level, and 26 percent were above the 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
By state, North Dakota had the lowest percentage of population found to be food insecure at 7.4 percent, while Mississippi had the highest percent of population found to be food insecure at 21.4 percent. North Dakota also had the lowest percentage of food-insecure children at 10.2 percent, while New Mexico had the highest percentage of food-insecure children at 30.6 percent.