The question is: Which population in any area is the most vulnerable to food insecurity? And the data shows that the most vulnerable are children. They are more likely than adults to go hungry in every single state. And the number of children without secure access to food varies in each state. In North Dakota, 10 percent of children experience food insecurity; in New Mexico, that number rises to 24 percent of children. Also, 87 percent of counties that are in the top 10 percent of food insecure areas can be found in the South.
Is help on the way? Not a chance. The Trump Administration is currently trying to tighten work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) AKA food stamps that people who do not reach a certain income threshold can use to purchase food. If the changes take effect the way the President has instructed, as many as 750,000 people will lose their SNAP benefits.
Is SNAP enough, even if everyone who needed SNAP assistance had access to it? It does not appear so. The cost of food, shelter, and health care have all increased, so many struggling Americans have to do a terrible calculus each month and determine which of those three will have to be sacrificed in order to survive.
Feeding American found that the average cost per meal rose $0.02 across all counties, but that number varies dramatically by area, i.e., it’s $2.07 in Willacy County, Texas and $5.85 in Manhattan. The average SNAP benefit per person is only $126 per month, so that allows a beneficiary only about $1.40 per meal, clearly nowhere close to the average.