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

  • Food insecurity rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas. According to the USDA, in 2021 11% of rural households were food insecure.
  • Our Map the Meal Gap report found that 9 out of 10 counties with the highest food insecurity rates are rural. Rural communities make up 63% of all U.S counties, but 87% of counties with the highest food insecurity rates.
  • People of color living in rural areas are more likely to face hunger due to long-term inequalities. In 2020, Black people in rural counties were 2.5 times more at risk of hunger than white, non-Hispanic individuals in rural counties. Native Americans living in rural communities experience some of the highest rates of food insecurity of any racial or ethnic group.
  • Living in a rural community comes with unique challenges that make affording food more difficult, including lack of transportation, jobs that pay low wages, and underemployment.

We're feeding 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.
  • Offer programs that increase access to food for hard-to-reach communities such as the Mail-A-Meal Program

Rural Hunger Stats

11%

of rural households were food insecure in 2021.

63%

of all counties in the United States are rural.

87%

of counties with the highest food insecurity rate are rural.

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