Hunger Study Finds Food Insecurity Levels Remain High

02/May/16 / 21:02
Many Connecticut Residents Continue to Struggle with Hunger


WALLINGFORD, CONN., May 2, 2016 – While there has been improvement in the post-recession economy, the number of people in Connecticut struggling with food insecurity remains MTMG_LOGO_4cessentially unchanged, according to information in Map the Meal Gap 2016, an annual study by Feeding America that details food insecurity rates in every county and congressional district in the United States. Feeding America member agency the Connecticut Food Bank shared information about the current figures in its six-county service area today. The study reveals that 12.2 percent of the population in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham Counties is food insecure – more than 309,000 people, including 95,600 children. The statewide figure is 13.1 percent.


Food insecurity is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. Using county data from the five-year period of 2010 to 2014, Map the Meal Gap 2016 is the first Map the Meal Gap report with post-Great Recession county food-insecurity estimates.


Map the Meal Gap shares data about the prevalence of hunger in our community,” said Paul O’Leary, Interim CEO at the Connecticut Food Bank. “This information allows us to better understand the need and work with partners, donors and stakeholders to help close that gap.”


This year’s report found that nearly 15 percent or approximately one in seven people in the United States struggles with hunger at some point during the year. While the rate has decreased since 2011, the prevalence of food insecurity across counties remains historically high since 2008, and has not yet returned to pre-Great Recession levels.


Key local findings:

  • 44 percent of food insecure people served by the Connecticut Food Bank are ineligible for government-funded food assistance programs. They rely on charitably donated food to meet basic needs.
  • 95,600 children – 16.9 percent of children in the six counties served by the Connecticut Food Bank – are food insecure.
  • Fairfield County, with the highest per capita income of Connecticut counties, has a food insecurity rate of nearly 11 percent, or nearly 102,000 people; almost 34,000 of those people are children.

Map the Meal Gap 2016 uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and food price data and analysis provided by Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), a global provider of information and insights. The study, commissioned by Feeding America, is a detailed analysis of the nation’s food insecurity.


“This new research documents the pervasiveness of hunger in every community in our nation. While the economy has improved and unemployment rates have declined, many people are still struggling to access adequate amounts of nutritious food for their families,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America.


The study is supported by founding sponsor The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen. The lead researcher is Dr. Craig Gundersen, Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory and a member of Feeding America’s Technical Advisory Group. This is the sixth consecutive year that Feeding America has conducted the Map the Meal Gap study.




The Map the Meal Gap 2016 interactive map allows policymakers, state agencies, corporate partners and individual advocates to develop integrated strategies to fight hunger on a community level.


A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States and the full report are available at More about hunger in areas served by the Connecticut Food Bank is available here.


Join the conversation about Map the Meal Gap 2016 on Twitter using #MealGap.


About the Connecticut Food Bank:

The Connecticut Food Bank is the state’s non-profit leader in the fight against hunger and the largest provider of charitably donated food. The Connecticut Food Bank partnered with the food industry, food growers, donors and volunteers to provide enough food last year to prepare more than 18.5 million meals. We distribute that food through a network of community based programs to more than 300,000 people across six Connecticut counties. Visit us on the web at, like us on Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter and Instagram.


About Feeding America

Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through food pantries and meal programs in communities throughout America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at