Hunger in rural communities

Many rural and farm communities — the very places where crops are grown to feed the world — face hunger. It seems impossible, but in lands of plenty, hunger pains can be the sharpest.

Millions of people in rural communities face hunger

People living in rural communities face hunger at higher rates than people who live in urban areas.

In addition, living in a rural community comes with unique challenges. This includes a lack of transportation when the nearest grocery store, food pantry, or food bank is potentially hours away, job opportunities that are more concentrated in low-wage industries, and higher unemployment rates and underemployment.

  • 2.1 million households in rural communities face hunger
  • Rural communities make up 63% of counties in the United States and 91% of counties with the highest rates of overall food insecurity
  • Child hunger is more common in rural communities. 86% of the counties with the highest percentage of children at risk for food insecurity are rural
  • Poverty is worse in rural communities than in urban communities. In 2019, 13.3% of all people in rural areas lived below the poverty line compared to 10.0% of people in urban areas.
  • People of color living in rural areas are more likely to face hunger due to long-term inequalities. For example, Black people living in rural counties were 2.5 times more likely to be at risk of hunger compared to white, non-Hispanic individuals residing in rural counties. Native Americans living in rural communities experience some of the highest rates of food insecurity of any racial or ethnic group.
  • Many people living in rural areas face more significant hardship due to the pandemic's impact on our economy.


Feeding America and member food banks feed our neighbors in rural communities

Feeding America is committed to reaching everyone who faces hunger regardless of where they live. Food banks in the Feeding America network that serve rural communities may:

  • Operate mobile pantries that bring food to communities so our neighbors do not need to travel to food pantries that can be hours away.
  • Assist community members with enrolling in SNAP, WIC, and other federal programs.

Find Your Local Food Bank