Households in rural areas tend to experience food insecurity at higher rates compared to all households, including those located in more urban and populous metropolitan areas. The irony is that many of these rural food-insecure households are located in the very farm communities whose productivity feeds the world and provides low-cost wholesome food for American consumers.
Challenges facing rural areas differ from metro/urban areas in several significant ways[i]:
Rural Hunger Facts
Rural Poverty Facts
[i] USDA. Economic Research Service. Leslie A. Whitener, R. Gibbs, and L. Kusmin. Rural Welfare Reform: Lessons Learned. Amber Waves. June 2003.
[ii] USDA. Economic Research Service. Robert Gibbs, L. Kusmin. Low-Skill Employment and the Changing Economy of Rural America. ERR-10. October 2005.
[iii] Coleman-Jensen, A., Rabbitt, M., Gregory, C., & Singh, A. (2016). Household Food Security in the United States in 2015. Table 2. USDA ERS.
For the purposes of this summary, we have relabeled the designation “Outside metropolitan area” included in the USDA ERS and Census Bureau reports as “rural.” It should be noted that “outside metropolitan area” includes micropolitan statistical areas as well as territory outside of both metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas.
[iv] Gundersen, C., A. Dewey, A. Crumbaugh, M. Kato & E. Engelhard. Map the Meal Gap 2017: A Report on County and Congressional District Food Insecurity and County Food Cost in the United States in 2015. Feeding America, 2017.
[v] Proctor, B.D., Semega, J.L., & Kollar, M.A. (2016). Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015. U.S. Census Bureau.
[vi] U.S. Census Bureau. Current Population Survey. 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement. POV43: Region, Divison and Type of Residence—Poverty Status for People in Families With Related Children Under 18 by Family Structure: 2015. Below 100% of Poverty—All Races.