40 million Americans struggle to put food on the table

Every county in all 50 states is home to people who struggle with hunger.

  • Children are more likely to experience hunger than adults.
  • Rural counties account for 78 percent of the highest food insecurity rates.
  • One study found SNAP benefits aren’t enough to cover the cost of a meal in most places in the U.S.

The U.S. economy is enjoying nearly a decade of expansion since the Great Recession. Yet food insecurity — a lack of money or resources to secure enough to eat — still grips almost one in eight Americans. That’s roughly 40 million people. While slowly improving, that figure remains stubbornly higher than before the recession, when more than one in 10 U.S. residents had difficulty knowing when and how they might eat next, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Hungry people live in every county in America, according to the latest annual research from nonprofit relief organization Feeding America. It compiled federal and other data for 2017, its ninth year examining the issue, for a report called Map the Meal Gap. Feeding America serves 4 billion meals each year for one in eight Americans through 200 food banks and 60,000 meal programs and pantries.


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By Rachel Layne, CBS News MarketWatch