USDA Economic Research Service data released Monday shows food insecurity rates vary across U.S. states. The estimated prevalence of food insecurity during 2018–20 ranged from 5.7 percent in New Hampshire to 15.3 percent in Mississippi. The estimated national average was 10.7 percent. The prevalence of food insecurity was significantly higher than the national average in nine states, including Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Food-insecure households are defined as those that had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members because of a lack of resources. USDA monitors the extent of food insecurity in U.S. households at the national and state levels through an annual U.S. Census Bureau survey. State-level estimates are then obtained by averaging three years of data to generate more reliable statistics. State food insecurity rates vary because of state-level characteristics such as population, policies, and economic conditions.
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