Rates of food insecurity among rural households is generally lower than urban households, but slightly higher than the national average. The irony is that many of these food-insecure households are in the very rural and farm communities whose productivity feeds the world and provides low-cost wholesome food for American consumers.
Challenges facing rural areas differ from metro/urban areas in several significant ways [i] :
Employment is more concentrated in low-wage industries;
Unemployment and underemployment are greater;
Education levels are lower;
Work-support services, such as flexible and affordable child care and public transportation, are less available;
The rural marketplace offers less access to communication and transportation networks [ii]
Offers companies less access to activities that foster administration, research and development.
Rural Hunger Facts
15.5% of rural households are food insecure, an estimated 3.1 million households [iii]
- 8.5 million Americans (17.7%) living in rural areas live below the federal poverty line. [iv]
- Compared to all regions, the South continues to have the highest poverty rate among people in families living in rural areas (28.5%). [v]
- 52.3% of people in families with a single female head of household living in rural areas were poor in 2012, as compared to 34.6% in the suburbs. [vi]
[i] USDA. Economic Research Service. Leslie A. Whitener, R. Gibbs, and L. Kusmin. Rural Welfare Reform: Lessons Learned. Amber Waves. June 2003.
[ii] USDA. Economic Research Service. Robert Gibbs, L. Kusmin. Low-Skill Employment and the Changing Economy of Rural America. ERR-10. October 2005.