North Dakota most food s ecure, Mississippi is least secure
Results America seeks to use data and logical research to help educate states about their triumphs and challenges. Often in this process, we discover that high-profile issues are far less of an issue, while other problems are far more severe and demand greater policy attention. Food insecurity is one of the latter issues.
Strong public health is a goal of every party and government; the ability for a citizen to have enough safe food for their household is part of this goal. Using data from the latest survey by the Food and Drug Administrat ion, we can see that not only is food insecurity an issue, but many states struggle with the matter. The 2012 data gives the percentage of a state’s population that were categorized as having “low” or “very low” food security.
First, of those states in the top 10, North Dakota, Virginia, and New Hampshire are the most food secure. Interesting to note is that the states with the top rankings are also those states with some of the lowest unemployment rates in 2012. This lends to an obvious conclusion that job security yields food security. However, it should be noted that all states have seen food insecurity increase from 2010, due in large part to continued economic troubles.
““Mississippi is currently in the midst of some of the worst food insecurity issues on record, with over 20% of the population reporting low or very low food security and access.””
Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas are the three most food insecure states. Mississippi is currently in the midst of some of the worst food insecurity issues on record, with over 20% of the population reporting low or very low food security and access. This during a time when the state faced a 9.2% unemployment rate. This is also not merely a regional (specifically Southern) issue, as states such as Nevada and Ohio also fall into the bottom 10 rankings. Also interesting, and will be explored in later white papers, is the relationship with obesity. Many of the most obese states are also the most food insecure states.
Beside economic concerns, there are interesting demographic and population relationships with food security. African-American and Latino communities, as well as rural areas and senior citizens, are some of the most likely to suffer from food insecurity. It is also not just relegated to the unemployed and uneducated. 23% of the participants in the FDA survey who responded with “low” and “very low” had attended college. This data suggests not a lack of food, but rather a lack of access to food, what are called “food deserts.” Advance techniques such as geospatial data analysis (which would map areas of greatest food security risk) would serve well those states that are interested in reducing their own food security and access issues.