Local Data: It Can Even Tell Us How Hungry We Are

By Scott Richter: Benton-Franklin Trends Staff

It wasn’t too long ago estimating hunger relied mainly on Federal Poverty Level statistics. But the national estimates were inadequate when used to estimate hunger in smaller, more localized areas. This created a disparity of what statistically might qualify as food insecure in the national data to what is really happening. The Federal Poverty Level does not change from one place in the U.S. to the next,

Feeding America has developed an extensive methodology to create a different view of local hunger and food insecurity through data. As a result, local organizations and food banks have a much better understanding of what is happening, and how to best deal with the issues at hand.

The natural progression of the data work Feeding America has been involved with is to create data people can interactive with. While we think you’ll find much of this website interesting, we’d like to point you to The Economic Drivers of Food Insecurity interactive web page.

Selecting any county in the U.S. in Box #2 shows connections between food insecurity and the poverty rate, unemployment rate, and homeownership rate. Sliders under each category allow the user to adjust the rates in positive or negative directions (poverty, unemployment, and home ownership) to see how can have a huge impact on estimations of food insecurity.

Local Feeding America data can be found on the Benton-Franklin Trends website under indicator 6.1.7 Share of the Population with Food Insecurity.