Map the Meal Gap is a detailed analysis of food insecurity released by Feeding America each year. Feeding America undertook the Map the Meal Gap study to learn more about the face of hunger at the local community level.
The annual study measures the population affected by food insecurity and the factors that contribute to need in households across the country, including weekly food-budget shortfalls, demographics, poverty levels, unemployment rates and the cost of food. The information is provided in an interactive map that allows viewers to learn more about the residents struggling with hunger in their community and the food banks that serve them.
According to the latest study, released May 2017, 13.8 percent of Middle Tennessee residents are food insecure, meaning they have limited or uncertain access to enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is above the 13.4 percent national average. While the overall rate has decreased since 2011, the prevalence of food insecurity across the country, including in Tennessee, remains historically high since 2008 and has not yet returned to pre-Great Recession levels.
Additionally, 1 in 5 children, 19.9 percent, in Second Harvest’s 46-county service area are food insecure. Although food insecurity is harmful to an individual, it can be particularly devastating to children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences.
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