April 16, 2015

National Geographic learned about the Feeding America Map the Meal Gap 2015 data, relased in April 2015, and shared with its readers a Feeding America client story, along with the statistics:

Dawn Pierce of Boise, Idaho, still remembers the time her colleagues suggested a potluck lunch at work. “I called in sick that day because I couldn’t bring anything,” she tells The Plate. “I couldn’t afford it. I was so embarrassed.”

Pierce was a paralegal and a single mom who often found herself scrambling for her family’s next meal, but she kept up appearances. When she was laid off in 2010, she knew she really needed help.

And she’s one of about 49 million people scattered around the United States of all ages, races and backgrounds who have found themselves in the position of being food insecure at some point recently, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [...]

Feeding America issued a report this week featuring an interactive map called Map the Meal Gap. It shows the percentage of food-insecure residents in every county and congressional district.

Here are some surprising facts from the report showing just how much our geography affects food insecurity:

  • Fifty-two percent of counties with a high food-insecurity rate are rural, while only 24 percent are urban.
  • The largest estimated population of food-insecure children lives in Los Angeles County, where one in four kids live with the risk of hunger. That’s about 600,000 kids.
  • The highest percentage of children who are food insecure – 43 percent – live in Apache County, Arizona, home to Navajo Nation. (See Death, Taxes and the Fight Against Junk Food for efforts the Nation is undertaking to address poor nutrition.)
  • Eight counties with median household incomes of $100,000 have child food-insecurity rates above 10 percent. Four of them—Loudon, Fairfax, Arlington and Falls Church City–are in Northern Virginia.
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