September 30, 2014

Bread for the World Highlights the 10 Hungriest and Poorest States

Washington, D.C.–The states with the highest proportion of hungry and poor people are in the South, according to a Bread for the World analysis of the latest U.S. Census data. Several states in the region account for large portions of the more than 49 million Americans who were at risk of hunger and 45 million Americans who lived in poverty last year.

The states with the highest percentage of food insecurity, or hunger, are Arkansas (21.2 percent); Mississippi (21.1 percent); Texas (18.0 percent); Tennessee (17.4 percent); North Carolina (17.3 percent); Missouri (16.9 percent); Alabama (16.7 percent); Georgia (16.6 percent); Louisiana (16.5 percent); and Kentucky (16.4 percent).

“With families on average still earning $4,500 less than before the recession, the road to recovery and freedom from food insecurity will continue to be an arduous one,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

The states with the highest percentage of poverty are Mississippi (24.0 percent); New Mexico (21.9 percent); Louisiana (19.8 percent); Arkansas (19.7 percent); Georgia (19.0 percent); Washington, D.C. (18.9 percent); Kentucky (18.8 percent); Alabama (18.7 percent); Arizona (18.6 percent); and South Carolina (18.6 percent). 

According to Bread’s analysis, these Southern states also had one of the highest participation rates in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Congress proposed cutting funding for SNAP 13 times last year despite the program helping move 3.7 million Americans out of poverty.

Children continued to be a segment of the population that was most vulnerable to hunger and poverty. Last year, 1 in 5 American children were living in poverty, which included 5.2 million children under the age of 6.  

“Federal safety-net programs prevent children from going to bed hungry and allow their parents continue to look for work. We need to vote for leaders who are committed to ending hunger and poverty and hold them accountable once in office,” concluded Beckmann.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Conflict and Fragility Are Hunger Issues

    Conflict is a main driver of the recent increase in hunger around the world and of forced migration. Hunger also contributes to conflict.

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

For Advocacy


African at Heart

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From the Blog