Hunger in rural communities

Hunger is a problem in every part of the United States. But it is more common in rural areas. Rural areas comprise less than two-thirds of all U.S. counties, but 9 out of 10 counties with the highest food insecurity rates are rural.

A farm manager holding a crate with vegetables.

Why hunger is more common in rural areas

There are many reasons why hunger is more common in rural areas, including:

Lack of transportation

People in rural areas often live far away from grocery stores and food pantries. That can make it difficult to get food, especially without a car or public transit.

Low wages and underemployment

Jobs in rural areas often pay low wages and don’t offer full-time hours. This can make it difficult to afford food, even if you work multiple jobs.

Racism and discrimination

People of color in rural areas are more likely to face hunger due to long-term inequalities affecting food access. In 2022, Black people in rural counties were 2.5 more likely to face hunger. Native Americans living in rural areas face some of the highest rates of hunger.

Addressing rural hunger

Feeding America, a national network of food banks, provides food and resources to people experiencing food insecurity, including rural communities. Some of the ways we address rural hunger include:

A volunteer helping out at a mobile pantry.

Mobile pantry

Mobile pantries bring food directly to rural communities so people don’t need to travel long distances to get the food they need.

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A grandfather and his 6 grandchildren.

SNAP application assistance

SNAP counselors in the Feeding America network help people apply for SNAP, a government program that helps people buy food.

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A farmer handing a crate of vegetables to another person.

Programs for hard-to-reach communities

The Feeding America network offers programs like the Mail-A-Meal program to increase food access in hard-to-reach communities.

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A farmer educator taking a photo of a plant.

Grants to members

Feeding America has provided over $100 million in grants to network members to support communities of color and rural communities experiencing hunger.

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How you can help

There are many ways to help end hunger in rural communities, including:


Your donation will help Feeding America continue to fund innovative programs that provide food and resources to people living in rural communities.


Support the Farm Bill, a piece of legislation that funds many nutrition and agriculture programs.


Many food banks and meal programs rely on volunteers to help them reach rural communities.