In November of 2010, the Economic Research Service at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its most recent report on Food Insecurity (FI), indicating that 50 million people in the United States are living in food insecure households, 17 million of whom are children. In Lafayette Parish, the Child Food Insecurity Rate (FIR)-- i.e., those children who live in some degree of hunger and want-- amounts to 1 in 5 children.

While the magnitude of the problem is clear, national and even state estimates of food insecurity can mask the nuances that exist at the local level. In March 2011, Feeding America released Map the Meal Gap to the public, providing a first time look at food insecurity at the county and congressional district levels (see Map the Meal Gap 2011: Child Food Insecurity 2011).

Recognizing that children are particularly vulnerable to the economic challenges facing families today, Feeding America sought to replicate the food insecurity model used in the Map the Meal Gap study to reflect the need among children. In the past, Feeding America has conducted research in an effort to learn more about child food insecurity across the country. Beginning in 2009, the ConAgra Foods Foundation supported annual reports that included state-level estimates of child food insecurity based on three-year averages.

The Map the Meal Gap methodology was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen, an internationally-renowned expert on food insecurity. With the Map, we are now able to develop annual estimates of child food insecurity (CFI) rates at the county and congressional district levels. Additionally, this study provides information on the proportions of the food insecure child population above and below the income threshold for most government child nutrition programs, and an overview of food cost variation alongside CFI rates.

How Lafayette compares with surrounding Acadiana parishes:

  Child FIR No. FI Children
Lafayette 19.4% 10,070
St. Martin 20.4% 2,810
Iberia 22.8% 4,780
Acadia 25.2% 4,190
St. Mary 25.3% 3,560
Vermilion 25.3% 3,710
Evangeline 25.5% 2,500
St. Landry 26.4% 6,660

How Louisiana compares nationally:

Rank State No. Children Child FIR No. FI Children Overall FIR
1 DC 113,992 32.3% 36,870 15.8%
2 OR 864,528 29.2% 252,510 16.8%
3 AZ 1,672,668 28.8% 482,340 17.4%
4 AR 701,180 28.6% 200,290 17.8%
5 TX 6,633,114 28.2% 1,871,660 17.8%
6 GA 2,514,344 27.9% 702,520 17.8%
7 MS 764,132 27.7% 211,340 19.9%
7 NV 658,560 27.7% 182,710 16.1%
9 SC 1,061,344 27.6% 292,840 18.3%
10 FL 4,054,773 27.5% 1,116,260 17.1%
11 CA 9,439,758 27.3% 2,580,080 16.7%
11 NC 2,206,086 27.3% 603,250 18.2%
11 NM 504,021 27.3% 137,720 17.1%
14 TN 1,475,030 26.9% 396,470 17.3%
15 OK 900,968 26.7% 240,740 17.1%
16 AL 1,123,783 26.6% 299,390 17.8%
17 OH 2,760,889 26.5% 731,040 17.1%
18 MI 2,438,971 25.4% 618,910 18.2%
19 MO 1,431,156 24.8% 354,520 16.8%
20 WA 1,547,473 24.7% 382,860 14.8%
21 ME 279,726 24.6% 68,950 15.1%
22 IN 1,586,528 24.5% 388,640 16.2%
23 KY 1,010,436 24.1% 243,920 16.8%
24 RI 233,662 23.7% 55,390 15.6%
25 ID 406,502 23.4% 95,150 15.8%
26 IL 3,193,120 23.3% 745,310 14.7%
27 CO 1,196,662 22.7% 271,660 14.3%
28 KS 698,449 22.6% 158,040 14.3%
28 WI 1,320,307 22.6% 297,870 13.1%
30 NY 4,498,282 22.4% 1,006,390 13.5%
31 LA 1,114,366 22.1% 246,720 14.6%
32 WV 386,828 22.0% 85,200 14.0%
33 MT 219,699 21.8% 48,000 13.8%
34 AK 179,703 21.2% 38,090 13.5%
35 PA 2,812,741 20.9% 588,370 13.5%
36 HI 289,288 20.8% 60,250 12.7%
37 NE 445,985 20.7% 92,360 11.8%
37 UT 825,489 20.7% 170,760 15.1%
37 VT 131,019 20.7% 27,160 13.3%
40 IA 709,911 20.6% 146,000 12.8%
40 WY 125,969 20.6% 25,940 12.1%
42 DE 205,229 19.7% 40,520 12.2%
43 SD 196,399 19.6% 38,440 11.6%
44 NJ 2,072,283 19.0% 394,240 12.7%
45 CT 822,120 18.9% 155,560 12.3%
46 MN 1,262,333 18.3% 231,100 11.2%
47 MA 1,449,926 18.1% 262,650 11.2%
48 MD 1,366,297 17.8% 242,910 11.6%
49 VA 1,831,470 17.6% 321,490 11.8%
50 NH 298,180 15.6% 46,400 10.0%
51 ND 143,384 12.7% 18,270 7.8%

To learn more, visit FeedAmerica.org.


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