In order to address the problem of hunger, we must first understand it. Every year, Feeding America conducts the Map the Meal Gap study to learn more about hunger at the local level. By understanding populations in need, communities can better identify strategies for reaching the people who most need food assistance.
To accurately estimate the number of people who may be food insecure in every U.S. county and congressional district, Map the Meal Gap uses publicly available state and local data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics on factors that research has shown to contribute to food insecurity. These factors include unemployment and poverty, as well as other demographic and household characteristics. In addition to measuring how pervasive the need is, the study also estimates the cost of a meal, and the amount of need among people who are food insecure, using local data from Nielsen and national survey data from the Census Bureau.
In the past, Feeding America has released a brief to accompany the Map the Meal Gap release. These past briefs can be found in the archive. Feeding America will not be releasing briefs to accompany the 2021 release of Map the Meal Gap (2019 data).
From 2013 - 2020, Feeding America released an annual Map the Meal Gap report that featured data on both child and overall food insecurity.
- 2018 Report (2016 data)
- 2017 Report (2015 data)
- 2016 Report (2014 data)
- 2015 Report (2013 data)
- 2014 Report (2012 data)
- 2013 Report (2011 data)
In 2011 and 2012, Feeding America released separate Map the Meal Gap reports for overall and child food-insecurity.