Arkansas, Texas and Arizona lead the nation in child food insecurity

July 1, 2010

New state-level data on child food insecurity was announced today by Feeding America, revealing that Arkansas, Texas and Arizona have the highest rates of child food insecurity in the country at nearly 25 percent.

Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008 was funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, Feeding America's exclusive Leadership Partner in the Fight to End Child Hunger. The study includes a comprehensive list of state rankings that also names Missouri, Mississippi, Georgia, Maine, South Carolina, Florida and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia, at the top of the list.

In addition, the study includes regional data on food insecurity for children under the age of 5. In the South, more than one in five children or nearly 22 percent of young children are food insecure – the highest rate in the nation. The Western region of the country has the second highest rate of young child food insecurity at nearly one in five, or 19.6 percent. The Midwest has a rate of more than one in six, or 18.6 percent; and the Northeast has a rate of nearly one in seven, or 13.7 percent.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases an annual report on the state of food insecurity in the United States, which focuses on the general population in each state. This new report delves deeper into the data in order to bring the child hunger statistics to the forefront.

While the recent 2009 USDA food insecurity report revealed that nationally, nearly one in four children is food insecure, determining detailed, state-level estimates on child food insecurity requires looking at a three-year average to increase accuracy and reliability. Though high, these estimates are expected to rise over the coming years as the full impact of the economic downturn is taken into account.

Through the support of the ConAgra Foods Foundation, Feeding America contracted nationally-recognized researcher John Cook, Ph.D. to analyze the USDA's food insecurity raw data in order to provide state-level child food insecurity estimates.

"Research over the past 12 years shows conclusively that food insecurity and hunger are serious threats to children's health, growth and development, and may even harm young children's brain architecture," Cook said.

"This report demonstrates the crisis that our country continues to face at the local level," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America."The fight against hunger is more important than ever. We thank our longtime partners at the ConAgra Foods Foundation for their ongoing support in the fight against child hunger and their commitment to funding critical research, such as this study by Dr. Cook. The data underscores the critical importance of passing the new Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. We are committed to putting an end to child hunger."

The ConAgra Foods Foundation has been a dedicated partner of Feeding America for more than 15 years, providing both food and funds in the fight against hunger. ConAgra Foods recently committed $10 million over five years to fight child hunger with Feeding America. This is the largest donation in Feeding America's history specifically designated to support the fight against child hunger.

"We're dedicated to helping solve childhood hunger, but to do so we must first understand the need. That's why the ConAgra Foods Foundation funded this study with Feeding America and Dr. Cook," said Kori Reed, executive director, ConAgra Foods Foundation."Knowing where children are most in need of our support will allow us to better direct our funding and resources to provide the most relief. It will also bring all of us one step closer to ending child hunger in America."

The states with the highest rates of child food insecurity for children under the age of 18 include:










District of Columbia










South Carolina






The states with the highest increases in the rates of child food insecurity since last year for children under the age of 18 include:
























See the full report, including a complete list of all 50 states



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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

ConAgra Foods Foundation

The ConAgra Foods Foundation, through its Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow platform, is dedicated to raising awareness of the nearly 17 million children in America who are at risk of hunger and don't have enough food to live active, healthful lives. It aggressively pursues sustainable solutions in the fight against child hunger. And the Foundation is committed to building a community of people who are passionate about ensuring that all kids have access to the food and facts they need to eat nutritiously while living balanced lifestyles and succeeding in school and life. ConAgra Foods Foundation invests in national and local partnerships with high-impact, not-for-profit organizations, such as Feeding America, that take an innovative approach to addressing needs in the core areas of hunger and nutrition education. For more information, please visit or The ConAgra Foods Foundation is funded solely by ConAgra Foods.