Economy

These Are the States Where the Most People Have Trouble Feeding Their Children

The term is “food hardship.” Either people do not have resources to feed themselves or their children in cases when this term is used. These Americans say they did “not enough to eat” sometimes or often in the previous seven days. The problem has worsened over the course of the pandemic. The percentages of how prevalent this is from state to state vary widely.

Data collected by the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey between August 19 and September 14 show that 22,632,000 adults fall into the category of those who live in households where they do not have enough to eat. That is 10% of American adults. Almost 12% of American adults with children said they were in households where their children did not have enough to eat. That translates into a raw number of 11,815,000 households where “the children were not eating enough because we just couldn’t afford enough food.”

The causes of the increase in these numbers over the course of the pandemic vary. They include job loss, higher food prices and inadequate government assistance problems. Some children miss out on government food programs because they cannot go to school due to the disease.

The percentage of adults who report they live in households where children do not enough to eat is highest in the District of Columbia, at 21%. Among states, the highest, at 17%, are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Tennessee. The percentage is lowest, at 6%, in New Hampshire. It probably comes as no surprise that New Hampshire had one of the lowest unemployment rates for August, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

This is the ranking of the states where “Adults Reporting That Children in Household Weren’t Eating Enough Because Couldn’t Afford Enough.”

Location Number Adults Living With Children
United States 11,815,000 14%
California 1,746,000 16%
Texas 1,281,000 16%
Florida 941,000 17%
New York 751,000 16%
Illinois 499,000 15%
Georgia 475,000 17%
Ohio 356,000 13%
North Carolina 351,000 13%
Pennsylvania 344,000 12%
New Jersey 288,000 13%
Tennessee 274,000 17%
Arizona 269,000 15%
Virginia 263,000 12%
Michigan 259,000 11%
Maryland 246,000 16%
Indiana 232,000 13%
Alabama 214,000 17%
Louisiana 214,000 18%
Massachusetts 195,000 12%
Oklahoma 168,000 16%
Missouri 167,000 11%
South Carolina 160,000 12%
Washington 156,000 8%
Minnesota 150,000 11%
Colorado 149,000 10%
Kentucky 141,000 13%
Wisconsin 139,000 10%
Nevada 129,000 17%
Mississippi 121,000 15%
Connecticut 116,000 13%
Oregon 112,000 11%
Arkansas 110,000 14%
Kansas 95,000 13%
New Mexico 91,000 16%
Utah 73,000 8%
Iowa 68,000 9%
Nebraska 58,000 12%
Hawaii 54,000 15%
Idaho 37,000 8%
West Virginia 37,000 9%
Delaware 36,000 16%
Rhode Island 33,000 14%
District of Columbia 32,000 21%
Montana 32,000 12%
North Dakota 26,000 13%
South Dakota 26,000 12%
Maine 24,000 8%
Alaska 23,000 12%
New Hampshire 20,000 6%
Wyoming 20,000 14%
Vermont 11,000 8%

How to read this table: In the United States, over 22 million adults reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the past seven days. This represents 10% of all adults in the country. Over 11 million adults living with children reported that “the children were not eating enough because we just couldn’t afford enough food.” This represents 14% of adults living with children. Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.