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.”

LocationNumberAdults Living With Children
United States11,815,00014%
California1,746,00016%
Texas1,281,00016%
Florida941,00017%
New York751,00016%
Illinois499,00015%
Georgia475,00017%
Ohio356,00013%
North Carolina351,00013%
Pennsylvania344,00012%
New Jersey288,00013%
Tennessee274,00017%
Arizona269,00015%
Virginia263,00012%
Michigan259,00011%
Maryland246,00016%
Indiana232,00013%
Alabama214,00017%
Louisiana214,00018%
Massachusetts195,00012%
Oklahoma168,00016%
Missouri167,00011%
South Carolina160,00012%
Washington156,0008%
Minnesota150,00011%
Colorado149,00010%
Kentucky141,00013%
Wisconsin139,00010%
Nevada129,00017%
Mississippi121,00015%
Connecticut116,00013%
Oregon112,00011%
Arkansas110,00014%
Kansas95,00013%
New Mexico91,00016%
Utah73,0008%
Iowa68,0009%
Nebraska58,00012%
Hawaii54,00015%
Idaho37,0008%
West Virginia37,0009%
Delaware36,00016%
Rhode Island33,00014%
District of Columbia32,00021%
Montana32,00012%
North Dakota26,00013%
South Dakota26,00012%
Maine24,0008%
Alaska23,00012%
New Hampshire20,0006%
Wyoming20,00014%
Vermont11,0008%

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.

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