Bay Area Food Bank announced the annual Map the Meal Gap results released today, show food insecurity continues to remain high across the southern regions of Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. According to the newly released data, the food insecurity rate for people across the Central Gulf Coast remained at 17 percent. The child food insecurity rate across the food bank’s service area rose to 25.2 percent – meaning one in every four children is struggling daily with issues of hunger.
State-wide statistics for Florida exceed the national averages for both the entire population and children specifically. The national child food insecurity rate is 21.6 percent, while in Florida it is 27.6 percent. Likewise in Florida, the total population has a food insecurity rate of 17.9 percent, again surpassing the nationwide food insecurity rate of 15.9 percent.
Map the Meal Gap 2014 is a detailed analysis of food insecurity done by Feeding America and the only study available that provides county–level estimates of food insecurity in the United States. Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as a socioeconomic condition of limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.
“Studies like Map the Meal Gap 2014 allow Bay Area Food Bank to continue to evaluate and adjust to the need in our area,” said Dave Reaney, Executive Director of Bay Area Food Bank. “The research data includes weekly food-budget shortfalls, demographics and poverty levels which help us understand the problems in our region and work together with the community pantries we support to help those dealing with hunger in our community.”
The information is provided in an interactive map that allows viewers to find out how widespread hunger is in their community. The map can be found at www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.
Other local key findings:
• 1 in 4 children in Florida are still food insecure.
• Nearly 40% of food insecure families make too much for government food program support.
• In Florida the average cost of a meal is $2.88, which is approximately $250 per month for an adult.
Research for the study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen.
“Hunger is a pervasive and solvable problem plaguing every corner of America today,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “By continuing to provide extensive and revealing data like the 2014 Map the Meal Gap study, we will be able to tackle these issues head-on and be armed with the information needed to work towards making sure everyone has enough to eat.”
The Map the Meal Gap 2014 analysis was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen for Feeding America. Food-insecurity rates are based on a state-level model that allows for the population in need of food at the county and congressional district level. Additionally, Feeding America worked in collaboration with Nielsen to arrive at estimates for food-cost variation by county. Results were reviewed by the Feeding America Technical Advisory Group in order to ensure accuracy and promote transparency.
A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.