American consumers and retailers waste an estimated 133 billion pounds of food annually. While the nation’s food waste amounts to nearly $162 billion a year, tens of millions of Americans struggle to afford food every day.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as inadequate or uncertain access to food. People and households who are food insecure report eating lower quality food, disrupted eating patterns, and hunger. An estimated 13.4% of Americans live in food-insecure households.
Food insecurity can be exacerbated by poverty and food deserts, and it disproportionately affects poor, rural areas. Many counties on this list are home to or overlap with American Indian reservations, which, due to unique business regulations, poor access to amenities, as well as housing challenges, have historically faced extreme rural poverty.
To determine the counties with the highest food insecurity rate in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the national food bank network Feeding America.