Nearly 14 percent, or 498,460 of Connecticut’s residents are food insecure according to the 2014 “Map the Meal Gap” study, which offers a detailed look at the food budget required to meet the needs of families struggling with hunger here in Connecticut.
The study shows it would take more than $255 million to meet the needs of Connecticut’s food insecure population, or $16.87 per week for each food insecure person. Although 2013 data showed a 14.5 percent food insecurity rate, there is a $16 million food budget shortfall increase this year. The average cost of a meal in Connecticut increased from $2.82 to $2.92 or an extra $1.71 per week for each food insecure person.
Fairfield County has among the highest food costs in Connecticut ($3.31 per meal), with New Haven County having the highest (14.4%) food insecurity rate in the state. In Connecticut 45.7 percent of the food insecure population does not qualify for food stamps or other federal food assistance programs.
Child Food Insecurity Rate
In Connecticut, the child food insecurity rate is 19.6 percent, or 155,380 children. County-level child food insecurity data ranges from a low of 15.3 percent in Middlesex County, to a high of 21.4 percent in Windham County. Nationally, the child food insecurity rate is 21.6 percent.
“Each year, the Map the Meal Gap data confirms what Connecticut Food Bank and our member soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters see each and every day,” said Nancy L. Carrington, Connecticut Food Bank’s President and CEO. “More people than ever before are turning to the food-assistance network to feed themselves and their families. And it’s been particularly difficult for low-income people with the recent reduction in food stamp benefits, and the expiration of long-term unemployment.”
Last year Connecticut Food Bank distributed more than 20 million pounds of food, or 16 million meals, to more than 700 food assistance programs in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham Counties.
Map the Meal Gap also provides food insecurity rates by Congressional District. The study further analyzes each district’s food insecure population to determine their income eligibility for federal nutrition assistance.
Map the Meal Gap provides the following data by state and county in an interactive map format:
- The percentage of the population that is food insecure.
- The percentage of the food insecure population that qualify based on income for SNAP (Food Stamps) and other federal nutrition programs.
- The percentage of the food insecure population who do NOT qualify for federal nutrition programs and often must rely on charitable food assistance programs and who also need better wages and employment opportunities to help them meet their basic needs.
- The average price per meal based on new research by The Nielsen Company.
Map the Meal Gap food insecurity rates are determined using data from the 2002-2012 Current Population Survey on individuals in food insecure households; data from the 2012 American Community Survey on median household incomes, poverty rates, homeownership, and race and ethnic demographics; and 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor statistics on unemployment rates. The study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and The Nielsen Company.
A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available on Feeding America’s website at www.feedingamerica.org